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Anat Sci Educ. 2015 Sep-Oct;8(5):413-20. doi: 10.1002/ase.1488. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

To quiz or not to quiz: Formative tests help detect students at risk of failing the clinical anatomy course.

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Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, Department of Innovation in Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Through a modified team-based learning (TBL) in the anatomy pre-clerkship curriculum, formative evaluations are utilized in the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine to assess and predict students' outcomes on summative examinations. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficiency of formative assessments to predict student's performance on summative examinations, during the first two semesters of medical school. Formative assessments included multiple-choice quizzes (MCQ) for each laboratory session and a practical midterm examination (MIDTERM), while the summative assessment corresponded to the final practical examination (FINAL). A moderate correlation between MCQs and FINAL (r = 0.353 and 0.301, respectively), and strong correlation between MIDTERM and FINAL assessments (r = 0.688 and 0.610, respectively) were found in the first two semesters. The MIDTERM-FINAL correlations were enhanced for students who scored under 61% in the MIDTERM (r = 0.887 and 0.717, respectively). Despite limitations, mostly related to particularities of the used tests, the analysis revealed an efficient method to identify students at risk of failing the FINAL in a TBL-based anatomy program. Future developments include the elaboration of strategies to predict and support those underperforming students.


formative assessment; gross anatomy education; summative assessment; team-based learning; undergraduate medical education

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