Healthcare Assessment Tools and Suggestions

Reflection on Student Assessment in Healthcare: Summative and Formative Types

There is no secret that learning in any environment implies the following assessment of the student’s capability to operate on the information retrieved and use the skills acquired. The significance of knowledge and skills evaluation is especially high in the healthcare environment, where the patient’s life and well-being hinge on the proper use of skills and information. Therefore, it is imperative to locate the tools that permit the most accurate analysis of the learners’ progress and their ability to meet the patient’s needs.

Traditionally, summative and formative types of assessment are mentioned when it comes to testing students’ capabilities in the healthcare setting. While summative assessments imply that the students should display their ability to use the information acquired in the course of training formative one also presupposes the understanding of the theoretical framework that the above skills and knowledge are based on.

Though the subtypes of both approaches are very numerous, simulations are traditionally identified as the typical method of assessing the learners’ skills in the healthcare environment. As a rule, the choice of a simulation as the tool for evaluating students’ progress in the designated environment is predetermined by the fact that there are a variety of intrinsic hindrances to the process: “The ideal process of formative assessment is undermined by a cultural, societal and organizational fundamental desire to quantify student progress” (Wing, Koster, & Haans, 2014, p. 35). Therefore, it is imperative to place the learners in the context that permits the incorporation of self-regulated learning.

Analysis: What Scholars Have to Say

The issue regarding the choice between the summative and the formative assessment types as well as the design of new forms thereof for better evaluations of the learners’ progress has been the focus of healthcare studies for quite a while. At present, the concept of self-learning is encouraged as the possible trend in the designated environment According to the study carried out by Cadortin, Suter, Dante, Williamson, and Devetti (2012), the adoption of self-assessment among learners should be viewed as a crucial step toward the promotion of responsibility as one of the essential qualities of a healthcare expert.

The concept of self-assessment, however, has a few dents in its design, the lack of supervision, provision of directions, etc., and the following possibility of a student failing to learn and cheating being the key threats to the educational process. Therefore, it can be suggested that the process of self-assessment should be coordinated by the instructor to prevent instances of cheating and address possible errors of judgment, misunderstandings, etc.

Nevertheless, the phenomenon of self-assessment should be viewed as imperative in the context of the healthcare setting since it allows for the promotion of self-directed learning and spurs motivation in students by pointing to the fact that professional development is a crucial part of their life. When conducted properly, the above tool for evaluating the progress may become a foundation for self-improvement and gaining impressive expertise as a healthcare expert.

While simulations and other types of live evaluations are an essential introduction into the designated area, one must also bear in mind that, in the wake of the digital era, the use of e-tools must also be considered. Moen and Lamba (2012) mention the need to utilize online surveys as the means of evaluating the learners’ progress. More importantly, the authors point to the fact that the tests should come in clusters. The given strategy implies that different aspects of the healthcare practice should be taken into account when carrying out the evaluation. The approach in question has a range of evident benefits, the possibility to embrace the course in its entirety being the key one. The opportunity to access every single student by adopting the e-tools (i.e., an online survey) should also be listed among the benefits of the approach taken.

However, the strategy suggested by Moen and Lamba (2012) precludes the opportunity for a teacher to supervise the process of assessment. Therefore, similarly to the evaluation process described above, the method under analysis exposes the students to the threat of misunderstanding a certain issue and tempts them to cheat instead of using their knowledge and skills.

It could be suggested, therefore, that the presence of the teacher as an instructor and support for learners should be viewed as a possibility in the assessment approaches depicted above, as the study by Rowe, Frantz, and Bozalek (2012) prompts. Whereas the teacher’s presence can be facilitated in the healthcare setting, the shift towards the use of surveys as the means of assessing learners’ abilities offers little to no possibility of the incorporation of the teacher’s support into the process. Therefore, the use of a survey should be considered as the supplementary elements of the evaluation, which should only be coupled with a simulation or a similar test.

Evaluation Process: People Behind It and Their Roles

The role of a teacher as the source of feedback for learners at the end of the assessment process is huge. Not only is the teacher supposed to supervise the process of testing but also provide them with the feedback that will inform their further development as professionals. The feedback above should also take the form of a dialog so that the students could be involved in the discussion process. The importance of participation in the given case is predetermined by the fact that learners have to be motivated to excel in their studies and learn more. A dialog with the teacher, in its turn, is likely to serve as a motivational boost.

Apart from the teacher, the process of evaluation outside of the classroom can be carried out by learners themselves. The concept of self-assessment brought up above is often viewed as crucial due to the extensive opportunities for the further development of responsibility among students. Consequently, it will be reasonable to promote the role of instructors and supervisors to learners. As a result, the students can view the process of testing not as an academic burden but as a chance of locating new opportunities and threats to their professional development as well as identifying their strengths and weaknesses. It is expected that the reinforcement of self-assessment in the healthcare setting is likely to improve the quality of the corresponding healthcare services.

Reference List

Cadortin, L., Suter, N., Dante, A., Williamson, S. N., & Devetti, A. (2012). Self-directed learning competence assessment within different healthcare professionals and amongst students in Italy. Nurse Education in Practice, 12(3), 153-158.

Rowe, M., Frantz, J., & Bozalek, W. (2012). The role of blended learning in the clinical education of healthcare students: A systematic review. Medical Teacher, 34(4), 216-221.

Wing, T. J., Koster, M. S., & Haans, L. H. (2014). Formative assessment in health care education. International Journal of Education and Social Science, 1(3), 32-37.