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12-11-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2018 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 6/2018

Students as stakeholders in assessment: how students perceive the value of an assessment

Tijdschrift:
Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 6/2018
Auteurs:
Michelle Ricci, Christina St-Onge, Jing Xiao, Meredith Young

Abstract

Introduction

For assessment to fill an educational role, students must see the results generated by assessment as valuable, and actively engage with this feedback in order to support learning. Few studies include examinees as stakeholders in validation beyond general notions of acceptability. Here, we explore students as stakeholders in the validation of a newly implemented assessment.

Methods

A student-relevant validity framework based on the unified theory of validity was created and adapted to a survey format. Likert-style items were used to examine first- and second-year medical students’ perceptions of a new cumulative assessment, with several open-ended items. Analysis included: mean ratings per subscale of validity evidence, thematic analysis of comments, and a correlation between questionnaire subscores and exam performance.

Results

Seventy-seven students participated (20.5%). Student perceptions of the assessment were favourable, with significantly different ratings across validity evidence (Response Process (4.8 (SD = 0.7); scored/6), Content (4.6(0.9)), Consequential (4.4(0.8)), Internal Structure (4.2(0.9)), and Relationship to Other Variables (4.0(1.0))). Exam performance correlated with subscores for Relationship to Other Variables (r = 0.34, p < 0.005) and Response Process (r = 0.24, p < 0.05).

Discussion

Students perceived the assessment as facilitating learning, providing ‘checkpoints’, and were disappointed when it did not meet their expectations regarding the purpose of assessment. If students perceive that results do not reflect their future performance in clinical environments, or do not align with their perceived purpose of assessment, the educational value of assessment may be limited. It is critical to understand when, and how students engage in interpreting and integrating assessment-generated feedback to ensure that assessment contributes positively to learning.
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