As independent professionals, learners will need to be able to identify their own strengths and weaknesses; taking responsibility to analyse detailed feedback should help prepare them for this, but simple knowledge of pass-fail decisions will provide little assistance.
All assessment data created represents an opportunity for students to learn from the assessment. The mantra that ‘assessment drives learning’ is often repeated, with the assumption that the effect is always beneficial. However, Newble and Jaeger provided empirical evidence that examinations can sometimes encourage unhelpful learning behaviours in undergraduate medical education.
Dochy and colleagues have considered the link between assessment and learning from a constructivist viewpoint and demonstrated that the relationship is complex. They described pre-assessment, pure assessment and post-assessment effects on learning. Pre-assessment effects refer to the learning which takes place before an assessment. Pure assessment effects refer to the learning that actually occurs during assessments, such as the compilation of portfolios or test-enhanced learning.Post-assessment effects refer to the learning which takes place as a result of feedback from an assessment; these are what this website is principally concerned about.
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