Irish Medical Science Education: An Exploration of the Experiences and Attitudes of Undergraduate Students with Respect to Assessment Practices.
Keywords:Assessment, assessment literacy, student perspective, medical science.
Assessment is a driver of learning and shapes the approach and the depth of learning that takes place. When a programmatic approach to assessment is adopted, that includes a formative assessment strategy, what can result is enhanced skills and competencies on the part of students. Presented in this paper is part of a larger research study into the assessment practices in the education of undergraduate Medical Scientists in the Irish context. Ireland boasts three Institutes that each offer a level 8 degree programme in Medical Science. To fully understand the assessment practices of these programmes an insight into the reflections of the students involved is required. The aim of this phase of the study is to report the student experiences and attitudes with respect to assessment on these three programmes. All students registered in the programmes during 2017 2018 academic year were invited to complete an online anonymous questionnaire. The questionnaire containing both open and closed questions, sought information on: the types of assessment students had experienced, their assessment preferences, their familiarity with linguistic terms associated with assessment, and their attitudes on feedback. One hundred and seventy two students responded to the questionnaire, with an equal distribution for each year of study. The result analysis showed a diverse range of assessments have been experienced by the students in each institute. Students prefer short answer questions with the higher year students displaying an understanding of the depth of learning involved. There is a gap in feedback practice between what students receive and what they would prefer. The investigation of the understanding of assessment terminology demonstrated low levels of assessment literacy in this student population. Students recognise the benefit of assessment as a driver of engagement but referred negatively to the scheduling and weighting accompanying some assessment activities.
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