Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Teach Learn Med. 2017 Dec 8:1-8. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2017.1365719. [Epub ahead of print]

High-Stakes Collaborative Testing: Why Not?

Author information

a Office of Clinical Education and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences , The University of Texas Medical Branch , Galveston , Texas , USA.
b Office of Academic Affairs, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine , Dayton , Ohio , USA.
c Office of Curriculum and Department of Psychiatry , Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine , Dayton , Ohio , USA.
d Department of Psychiatry , University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center , Austin , Texas , USA.
e Department of Psychiatry , Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center , New Orleans , Louisiana , USA.
f Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences , Medical University of South Carolina , Charleston , South Carolina , USA.
g Department of Psychiatry , George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences , Washington , DC , USA.
h Office of Educational Development, University of Texas Medical Branch , Galveston , Texas , USA.
i Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine , Hershey , Pennsylvania , USA.


Phenomenon: Studies of high-stakes collaborative testing remain sparse, especially in medical education. We explored high-stakes collaborative testing in medical education, looking specifically at the experiences of students in established and newly formed teams.


Third-year psychiatry students at 5 medical schools across 6 sites participated, with 4 participating as established team sites and 2 as comparison team sites. For the collaborative test, we used the National Board of Medical Examiners Psychiatry subject test, administering it via a 2-stage process. Students at all sites were randomly selected to participate in a focus group, with 8-10 students per site (N = 49). We also examined quantitative data for additional triangulation.


Students described a range of heightened emotions around the collaborative test yet perceived it as valuable regardless if they were in established or newly formed teams. Students described learning about the subject matter, themselves, others, and interpersonal dynamics during collaborative testing. Triangulation of these results via quantitative data supported these themes. Insights: Despite student concerns, high-stakes collaborative tests may be both valuable and feasible. The data suggest that high-stakes tests (tests of learning or summative evaluation) could also become tests for learning or formative evaluation. The paucity of research into this methodology in medical education suggests more research is needed.


academic performance; collaborative testing; emotional intelligence; team-based learning; teamwork

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center