Cumulative assessment: Does it improve students’ knowledge acquisition and retention?

Dario Cecilio-Fernandes*, Manouk Nagtegaal, Gera Noordzij, René A. Tio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

AIMS: Cumulative assessment has been used as a tool to steer students’ study behavior, since it increases students’ self-study time while spreading their study time more evenly throughout the span of the course. However, little is known about the impact of cumulative assessment on students’ knowledge growth. Therefore, our study compared the growth of knowledge of students who attended a course with cumulative assessment with those with end-of-course assessment. We hypothesized that students in the cumulative assessment condition would have a higher increase in knowledge compared to students in the end-of-course assessment condition. METHODS: This is a follow-up study of a previous randomized experiment that compared students’ performance between students who attended a course with cumulative assessment with those with end-of-course assessment. We gathered data of the first four subsequent Dutch interuniversity progress test after the experiment from 62 students. Of those, 37 students were in the end-of-course assessment condition and 25 were in the cumulative assessment condition. The questions were classified as part of the teaching block or not. To analyze students’ knowledge growth, we conducted a General Linear Model. RESULTS: Our results demonstrated that there was a significant increase in students’ knowledge of the four subsequent progress tests. Additionally, our general linear model showed no difference between both groups, indicating that cumulative assessment and end-of-course assessment produced similar outcomes when comparing students’ knowledge growth. CONCLUSIONS: So far, little evidence has supported the use of cumulative assessment as a tool for increasing students’ knowledge growth. The lack of finding a positive effect of cumulative assessment on knowledge retention may be explained by the repetitive character of our (spiral) curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31880
JournalScientia Medica
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

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© Copyright© (2018) by DEStech Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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