Formative assessment: a key to deep learning?

Formative assessment: a key to deep learning?

Medical Teacher, 2005, Vol. 27, No. 6 , Pages 509-513 (doi:10.1080/01421590500129159)

Alison Rushton

A paradigm shift in assessment culture has emphasized the importance of formative assessment. The existing evidence supports the identification of feedback as the central component of formative assessment. Feedback provides information about the existing gap between the actual and desired levels of performance. The existing evidence suggests various characteristics of effective feedback, for example, ensuring that feedback is construct-referenced and student referenced. An exploration of the existing educational literature provides evidence for the emphasis on formative assessment. This paper evaluates the pedagogical implications of formative assessment to deep learning. A constructivist approach, emphasizing the principles of adult learning and placing emphasis on the student is advocated. However, in applying the wider educational literature to healthcare, it is questioned if the paradigm shift in assessment culture has occurred as the majority of the existing literature is centred on summative assessment.


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