Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Europhysiology 2018 (London, UK) (2018) Proc Physiol Soc 41, C111

Oral Communications

Designing authentic assessment strategies to evaluate multiple domains of competency in Physiology

P. Mabeta1

1. Physiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


Assessment of student learning is a multi-pronged approach that mainly focuses on meeting the criteria for certification, continuous improvement, as well as on preparing the student for the workplace [1,2]. Authentic assessment in particular requires students to apply competencies to settings that mimic real work place settings [3,4]. There is a growing realisation of the benefits of incorporating authentic assessment to improve the learning of Physiology in medical education. The purpose of the study was to employ technology supported strategies to develop authentic assessments for Physiology students. The technologies employed included online, network and stand-alone device based platforms. Authentic assessment strategies using these platforms were used in the systematic collection of evidence on the student's demonstration of acquired knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. To validate the results, students' performance on authentic assessments was compared with performance on standardised assessment. A cohort of students in the Clinical Associate programme was used. Authentic assessment enabled students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of both Systems Physiology and Applied Physiology in a manner that was consistent with workplace competencies stipulated in the curriculum. The crucial finding from the study was that no single assessment strategy was superior, but that multiple strategies were more reliable in measuring student performance and progress. There was no statistically significant difference between platforms that supported flexibility in terms of the time and the place of taking the assessment and those that were not flexible. Authentic assessment may be used as an alternative or complimentary form of assessment in Physiology education. Furthermore, programs that enable the collection of data on student performance from multiple types of assessment platforms and provide analysis will be valuable not only for determining effectiveness of authentic assessment strategies but for also informing decisions on how to improve pedagogy, curriculum and instructional strategies.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements