Formative Assessment Feedback

Thanks go out to Josh who has posted on the comments page that he was troubled by the formative assessment tool we asked you to carry out over the weekend.  I have attempted to answers his query in the response.  I think it’s important to air these issues, and get feedback from all concerned, so I’m posting it up here also.

Thanks for the comments.

The first point I should make is that the questions were written by the lecturers for each specific lecture – they have chosen questions they feel best illustrate the important learning points from each topic.

I vetted these questions and felt them to be fair, in that the knowledge and understanding required to answer the questions is appropriate to that of a second year medical student.

The next point must be that the lectures are the starting point from which you can take forward your learning, just because the exact question was not covered in the lectures does not mean that there is no expectation that you should learn it.  It is clear that part of the first week is to begin to understand what the clinical signs and symptoms are in respiratory medicine – you had only 2 lectures on this, but you have had private study time, and clinical sessions on the wards all week.

I appreciate that you want to understand the topic, to work out the answers, rather than regurgitating facts – unfortunately, medicine requires both knowledge and understanding, and we test both.

The formative assessment is meant to inform both us, the teachers, and you the students.  You now know what we expect of you with respect to knowledge and understanding of respiratory medicine.  We know now how much you have learnt, and whether we can provide further education tools to help you, and your peers.

There is no pass mark for the assessment, there is no fail mark, the marks merely serve to show us, and you, how much information, and understanding you have assimilated over the past week.

We have not provided a list of “Things you are expected to know and understand by the end of this week”, as we felt that as adult learners, you would make that decision for yourselves.  If you, as a group, feel that you would like to have that information in a more didactic manner, let me know, and I can let you know what is expected of you.

My advice prior to the next formative assessment, on COPD, Asthma, and Airways disease, mainly, is to read around the subject, follow the information provided in the blog, ask questions of your lecturers, ask questions on the blog, make the most of the iTA sessions by utilising the tutors, seek out help and advice, and be pro-active about your learning.

I urge you, and your colleagues to find the intended positives from this assessment tool – what did you learn, what did you understand, and when  we asked something you weren’t expecting, why weren’t you expecting it?

Finally – please keep commenting on the course, and the assessment tools.  I really want this kind of feedback; we will not know how to approach this and other blocks in the future without knowing how you are finding it.

I suppose I should sign off with this – learning medicine is not easy, and teaching it isn’t any easier.  We could always just tell you the chapters of the textbooks to read, then examine you at the end of the year; but we want to work with you to give you the best chance to make the most of what we have to offer.

I should be at the ITA session tomorrow morning, and also along at the Core Clinical Problems Session at 11.  I’m sure I will be able fit in the summary of the formative assessment, along with other things.

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