Student Understanding and Anxieties Surrounding Standard Setting in Summative Assessment

Sneddon, S. (2019) Student Understanding and Anxieties Surrounding Standard Setting in Summative Assessment. AMEE 2019, Vienna, Austria, 24-28 Aug 2019.

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Background: Assessment in medical education is high stakes and it is important we can identify students who are above the required standard. Within the undergraduate medical school at the University of Glasgow, we use the criterion referenced Modified Angoff method to standard set our written assessments. Assessment staff are trained and experienced in the process, however it is apparent that students remain uncertain around standard setting and this uncertainty can lead to anxiety and stress. Summary of Work: The aim of this study was to capture students’ perspectives on the standard setting process at the Undergraduate Medical School at the University of Glasgow. This study was carried out using by qualitative thematic analysis of focus group data from a cohort of year 2 students. Summary of Results: The focus group was recorded, transcribed and coded and three main themes emerged. Fairness was the most frequently mentioned theme. Students want to be assured that we are setting standards fairly. There was a perception of unfairness that the pass mark was not revealed to students. This unknown was said to cause stress and anxiety amongst students at a time when stress levels and anxiety were already high. Students had limited knowledge of standard setting procedures with the medical school and a varied understanding of how a pass mark is set, with the consensus that the pass mark was set using a norm-referenced method. Students however, were confident that the medical school set the correct standard. Discussion and Conclusions: It is evident from this study that students seem under-informed in standard setting processes. Students indicated they would be interested in learning more about the process. Giving more information and increasing transparency may help students in their learning journey and help relieve anxiety. Students wish to be involved in their learning, so we should encourage this where possible. Results from this study will inform the medical school assessment policy. Take-home Messages: There is a lack of understanding and knowledge surrounding standard setting in medical students. Provision of more information regarding the process may lead to alleviation of anxiety in the assessment process.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sneddon, Dr Sharon
Authors: Sneddon, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
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