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					                      Standardising assessment marking schemes: ‘fit for
                      purpose’ across a diverse range of medical Student
                      Selected Components (SSCs)
                      Dr David Bell and Dr Vivienne Crawford, Centre for Medical
                      Education, The Queen’s University of Belfast, U.K.

Introduction                                                    Marking & Academic Standards
                                                                •construction and use of standardised marking schemes for each
What are SSCs                                                   form of assessment (dissertation, poster, oral etc)
                                                                • generic criteria with in-built flexibility and identical performance
• integral part of UK medical curriculum since 1997;            grading scale
>10% curriculum time                                            • training for assessors in use of marking schemes
• contribute to students’ personal and professional             • all coursework double marked
development; build confidence, encourage self-directed          • pre-Examination Board meeting of all co-ordinators to standardise
learning; strong emphasis on evidence-based medicine            marks; further moderation by external examiner
• enable students to study areas of personal interest in        • timely formative and summative feedback provided to all
depth and consider future career paths                          students for each element of coursework
• small group teaching format (<30)
• >160 SSCs offered spanning basic sciences, clinical
specialties, medical ethics, humanities and community           Evidence of ‘fit for purpose’
•develop and assess mandatory competencies such as
                                                                Analysis of Parity
critical appraisal, teamwork, communication skills              Between SSCs
                                                                • regression analysis shows significant positive trends between

Assessment Context                                              individual student’s marks across 5 semesters

Delivery of SSC Programme at Queen’s
Module content
• delivered across 6 semesters in Phases 2,3, and 5 (Years
1,2, 3 and 5)
• >160 modules offered across Phases 2 and 3 (plus
individual Phase 5 Clinical Project)
• students select preferences from those available and
allocated using a weighted online booking system
•variety of module types and teaching methods
    traditional classroom-based modules
    library-based research projects
    clinical attachments (GP, ward-based, outpatients)         Between SSCs and Core Curriculum
    interpretative (clinical research projects, case studies   • regression analysis shows significant positive trends between marks
   and audits)                                                  for SSC Programme (5 semesters) and for Exit Examination (high stakes
    projects undertaken in partnership with arts and           exam at end of Phase 2.
   humanities, local charities and community groups             • suggests SSC performance predictive of performance in core
Assessment                                                      • suggests SSC assessments must be as robust as for core as student
Assessment Design – ‘Fit for purpose’                           performance between the two is correlated
• 2-3 coursework elements for each SSC ; no exams
 dissertations
oral and poster presentations
 appraisal of research literature and clinical trials
 construction of an original research paper
 case study reports and audits
data analysis and laboratory reports
 reflective commentaries
 clinical skills assessment (OSCE)
 debates and seminars
 role-playing scenarios
 design of MCQs
 preparation of learning resources
                                                                What are our students’ views?
                                                                •assessment appropriate to learning outcomes, relevant, appreciate
How is standardisation achieved                                 variety and guidance given
in such a diverse programme?                                    • (strongly) agree feedback provided to assist learning and keep
                                                                them informed of progress is appropriate
•programme review cycle
• careful monitoring of contact time and assessment burden
                                                                External examiner’s views?
across the programme                                            •clearly an SSC Programme that has coherence, validity and value
•programme review cycle                                         •excellent and exemplary provision of choice
• careful monitoring of contact time and assessment burden      •marking schemes appropriately designed to reflect learning outcomes
across the programme                                            •consistency of quality and consistency of the assessment processes
                                                                •much [student work] is very good and indeed excellent
                                                                •fits with the vocational guidelines detailed in Tomorrow's Doctors

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