Scientific article
Open access

Formative assessments during COVID-19 pandemic: an observational study on performance and experiences of medical students

Published inMedEdPublish, vol. 13, 7
Publication date2023-08-07
First online date2023-08-07

Background: Because of COVID-19, the 2020 written medical examinations were replaced by mandatory formative online assessments. This study aimed to determine students’ performance, self-assessment of performance, and perception about the switch from a summative to a formative approach.

Methods: Medical students from year 2 to 5 (n=648) were included. They could repeat each test once or twice. They rated their performance after each attempt and were then given their score. Detailed feedback was given at the end of the session. An online survey determined medical students’ perception about the reorganization of education. Two items concerned the switch from summative to formative assessments

Results: Formative assessments involved 2385 examinees totaling 3197 attempts. Among examinees, 30.8% made at least 2 attempts. Scores increased significantly at the second attempt (median 9.4, IQR 10.8), and duration decreased (median -31.0, IQR 48.0). More than half of examinees (54.6%) underestimated their score, female students more often than male. Low performers overestimated, while high performers underestimated their scores. Students approved of the switch to formative assessments. Stress was lessened but motivation for learning decreased.

Conclusions: Medical students’ better scores at a second attempt support a benefit of detailed feedback, learning time and re-test opportunity on performance. Decreased learning motivation and a minority of students repeating the formative assessments point to the positive influence of summative assessment on learning.

  • Assessment
  • Medical education
  • Distance education
  • COVID-19
Citation (ISO format)
LAVALLARD, Vanessa et al. Formative assessments during COVID-19 pandemic: an observational study on performance and experiences of medical students. In: MedEdPublish, 2023, vol. 13, p. 7. doi: 10.12688/mep.19428.1
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2312-7996

Technical informations

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