Module 4: Assessment and Evaluation Strategies – Professional Development

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies – Professional Development: Discuss at least 5 ways to assess and evaluate students (including CATs). Identify when you would use each type of assessment and why…

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Module 4: Assessment and Evaluation Strategies – Professional Development

Paper details

  • Discuss at least 5 ways to assess and evaluate students (including CATs). Identify when you would use each type of assessment and why.
  • Bastable, S. B. (2014). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice (4th ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett. Chapter 14 and Appendix A.
  • Billings, D. M. & J. A. Halstead. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (4th ed.). St. Louis: Saunders. Chapters 16, 24-27.
  • Utley, R. (2012). Theory and research for academic nurse educators: Application to practice. Boston: Jones & Bartlett. Chapter 4.

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Solution

Assessment and Evaluation Techniques

Introduction

Evaluation is one of the essential stages of the learning process as it helps in determine the clinical competencies of student nurses. It is imperative to have an evaluation approach that drives the curriculum and facilitates competency, safety, and effective provision of care services. Assessment is a crucial stage in the learning process that seeks to examine learner’s ability to comprehend information, learning needs, and readiness to acquire knowledge and suitable learning styles for various learners.

Often, students engage in learning in similar learning conditions, related learning materials, and with the same educator. However, the results of learning for different students vary. Hence, assessments act as methods of identifying student’s challenges and offer encouragement and support to enhance performance. Educators involve various forms of student evaluation, depending on the purpose of the assessment.

Some of the methods include; continuous assessment tests (CATs), structured interviews, Focus groups, informal conversations, and final examinations. These forms of classroom assessments are also conducted to determine and understand what is learned in class, guide revisions, and improve overall student learning (Bastable, 2014). The assessments should be student-centered, educator directed, have mutual benefits for teachers and students, ongoing, and based on quality teaching practices.

Continuous Assessment Tests

Continuous assessment tests are standard within learning environments, and they offer an examination of the learning in progress for both educators and students. CATs are valuable techniques for improving students’ ability to learn. CATs are more appropriate in circumstances where the teacher wants to evaluate what is being learned in class, the progress, and student comprehension (Billings & Halstead, 2012).

As a result, teachers and students can make improvements midcourse since both groups get feedback about necessary learning adjustments required to improve performance. CATs should be comprehensive, cumulative, formative, strategic, guidance-oriented, and diagnostics. CATs have pros and cons, and some of the benefits include the ability to influence learning throughout the course and engage in relative reflection and strategic changes in teaching.

Students can also heighten their voice and contribution in class, and they are regularly involved in their learning. Some of the disadvantages include time consumption. CATs take up course time that is needed to conduct other learning activities, and the faculties also face hardships in handling negative feedback. Many students argue that only active students benefit from CATs, and others report that CATs waste a lot of classroom time (Billings & Halstead, 2012). However, many research materials have proved that CATs increases the feeling of inclusiveness and early identification of learning challenges.

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Focus Groups

Focus groups bring together small groups of learners consisting of around 4-12 students who engage in a facilitated discussion to determine the perception of various students about a particular topic. The main aim of these groups is to select and bring together multiple characteristics that present diverse opinions regarding a subject matter. Ordinarily, a facilitator leads the discussion by asking questions that are mostly open-ended, and every member of the group is encouraged to provide their responses and views on the issue (Bastable, 2014).

These discussions can also incorporate face-to-face interviews and written surveys or questionnaires. Such groups are applicable where the main aim of learning is to elicit learner’s perceptions about a particular subject. In this regard, the educator can identify learning needs for different students. Focus groups benefit both educators and learners since both can continuously interact and ask follow-up questions that facilitate an in-depth understanding of the topic. It is also easy for the educator to obtain non-verbal cues and body language that represents the learner’s interest in the matter.

Structured Interviews

Educators also utilize structured interviews to evaluate students. This is probably the most common technique of assessing learning needs from the student’s point of view. Some of the considerations while undertaking structured interviews include creating a trusted environment, using open-ended questions, creating a setting that offers minimal destructions, and allow the students to express their learning needs freely.

This assessment method can be applied where the faculty want to understand the strength, weakness, and morale boosts for their students (Bastable, 2014). From such interviews, the educator can obtain information about conflicts, learning challenges, inconsistencies, ethical considerations, and uncertain topics. For the teacher to collect the required information, the conversation should be learner-oriented, and all notes should be taken with permission from the students.

Informal Conversations

Educators can also apply informal conversations with the students to find out about learning needs. These conversations are one-to-one and entail open-ended questions that allow the learners to express themselves at an unofficial level freely. The most crucial consideration is for the facilitator to engage in active listening not to miss on any details and make the interaction more appealing to the learner (Bastable, 2014). Before embarking on such conversations, the teacher carefully observes the student and identifies some of the proper topics of discussion that would lead to the desired feedback.

Informal chat can be used where the educator wants to obtain more information about a preexisting circumstance. The teacher should always initiate the conversation in a friendly manner and continuously observe the non-verbal cues and the student’s body language. For informal discussions to be fruitful, it is all about inquiring ordinary things with high interest and enthusiasm but not saying complex and brilliant things.

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Final Tests

At the end of the course, learners are assessed using final tests that involve questions that seek to evaluate the whole session. These tests, also called exams, are conducted at the end of an academic program, semester, or after completing a degree course. The primary purpose of the exam is to obtain final review and feedback about topics covered throughout the program and evaluate student’s knowledge of the issues. Final exams are larger and more comprehensive than CATs. Final tests form the basis of student grading (Russell, Waters & Turner, 2018).

The tests contain predetermined answers that seek to examine the knowledge level of students about a specific subject. Exams are also crucial for teachers to determine whether learning has successfully occurred by comparing scores from CATs and those of the final test. Ordinarily, the criteria are applied to represent the completion of a course. The exam acts as a summative assessment that provides the most precise and accurate determination of whether learning has taken place.

Although appropriate in most learning institutions, some people are dropping final exams for more a more cumulative grading system that integrates weekly assessments, projects, and practical exams. Most people argue that final reviews apply much pressure to students at the end of the semester, and most likely, high-stakes of depression and cheating are evident. Therefore, the test should be systematic in terms of form and time to accurately assess student learning of a particular course (Russell, Waters & Turner, 2018).

Conclusion

Nursing education involves gaining knowledge, competencies, and skills in various aspects of practice, which enhances our ability to deliver competent, safe, and effective care. For nursing educators, issuing an instruction, and passing knowledge should be accompanied by effective evaluation and assessment strategy.

Therefore, the educator needs to assess learners’ understanding and application in practice through a variety of approaches that capture the multidimensional nature of competencies. This could use single strategies of assessment applied separately or a combination of evaluation techniques to gauge the competencies of learners.

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References

  • Bastable, S. B. (2014). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice (4th Ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett. Chapter 14 and Appendix A.
  • Billings, D. M. & J. A. Halstead. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (4th Ed.). St. Louis: Saunders. Chapters 16, 24-27.
  • Russell III, W. B., Waters, S., & Turner, T. N. (2018). X 4 Assessment and Evaluation. In Essentials of Middle and Secondary Social Studies (pp. 83-100). Routledge
  • Utley, R. (2012). Theory and research for academic nurse educators: Application to practice. Boston: Jones & Bartlett. Chapter 4.

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