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      Students’ Perception of Formative Assessment as an Instructional Tool in Competency-Based Medical Education: Proposal for a Proof-of-Concept Study


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          In competency-based medical education (CBME), “Assessment for learning” or “Formative Assessment” (FA) plays a key role in augmenting student learning. FAs help students to measure their progress over time, enabling them to proactively improve their performance in summative assessments. FAs also encourage students to learn in a way where they address their knowledge gaps and gaps in their conceptualization of the subject matter. The effectiveness of an FA, as a learning and development instrument, relies on the degree of student involvement in the corresponding educational intervention’s design and implementation. The extent of students’ engagement in FA can be evaluated by appraising their perception regarding the educational intervention itself.


          This proof-of-concept study aims to develop a systemic understanding of a Formative Assessment as an Instructional Tool (FAIS) implemented in a biochemistry course in the Basic Medical Sciences component of an undergraduate entry, CBME.


          The educational intervention in question is an FAIS, which is implemented in a biochemistry course in the first semester of a 6-year bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery program. When developing the FAIS, each area of knowledge, skills, and attitudes were considered. Assessment formats are developed per Miller’s learning pyramid. This multiphase study is meant to rely on a convergent mixed methods design, where qualitative and quantitative data are independently collected and analyzed. Thereafter, the outputs of analyses are systematically merged using joint display analysis process. Qualitative data are collected through a focus group session that captures the students’ perception toward the FAIS. Data collection, integral to this focus group session, is exploratory. The inductive qualitative data analysis follows Braun and Clarke’s 6-step framework. The quantitative component of this study revolves around investigating the effect of the FAIS on the course’s summative assessment. The summative assessment performance of the 71 students, enrolled in the FAIS cohort, will be compared to that of the students in the non-FAIS cohort. The total duration of the proposed multiphase research study is 6 months.


          This proposed multiphase study is expected to showcase, from a systemic perspective, the effectiveness of the respective educational intervention. It will shed light on the participating students’ attitudes in relation to the usefulness of FA in achieving competency goals and in fostering self-directed learning. The proposed study could also uncover the hypothesized association between the FA intervention and enhanced performance in summative assessments.


          Our findings will generate evidence regarding the application of FAs, which can be leveraged by other medical educators in contexts similar to those under investigation.

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            Achieving integration in mixed methods designs-principles and practices.

            Mixed methods research offers powerful tools for investigating complex processes and systems in health and health care. This article describes integration principles and practices at three levels in mixed methods research and provides illustrative examples. Integration at the study design level occurs through three basic mixed method designs-exploratory sequential, explanatory sequential, and convergent-and through four advanced frameworks-multistage, intervention, case study, and participatory. Integration at the methods level occurs through four approaches. In connecting, one database links to the other through sampling. With building, one database informs the data collection approach of the other. When merging, the two databases are brought together for analysis. With embedding, data collection and analysis link at multiple points. Integration at the interpretation and reporting level occurs through narrative, data transformation, and joint display. The fit of integration describes the extent the qualitative and quantitative findings cohere. Understanding these principles and practices of integration can help health services researchers leverage the strengths of mixed methods. © Health Research and Educational Trust.
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              Thematic analysis of qualitative data: AMEE Guide No. 131

              Thematic analysis is a widely used, yet often misunderstood, method of qualitative data analysis. It is a useful and accessible tool for qualitative researchers, but confusion regarding the method's philosophical underpinnings and imprecision in how it has been described have complicated its use and acceptance among researchers. In this Guide, we outline what thematic analysis is, positioning it in relation to other methods of qualitative analysis, and describe when it is appropriate to use the method under a variety of epistemological frameworks. We also provide a detailed definition of a theme, as this term is often misapplied. Next, we describe the most commonly used six-step framework for conducting thematic analysis, illustrating each step using examples from our own research. Finally, we discuss advantages and disadvantages of this method and alert researchers to pitfalls to avoid when using thematic analysis. We aim to highlight thematic analysis as a powerful and flexible method of qualitative analysis and to empower researchers at all levels of experience to conduct thematic analysis in rigorous and thoughtful way.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                20 March 2023
                : 12
                : e41626
                [1 ] College of Medicine Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences Dubai United Arab Emirates
                [2 ] Strategy and Institutional Excellence Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences Dubai United Arab Emirates
                [3 ] Centre of Medical Education University of Dundee Dundee United Kingdom
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Yajnavalka Banerjee ydbanerrji@ 123456gmail.com
                Author information
                ©Farah Otaki, Mandana Gholami, Iman Fawad, Anjum Akbar, Yajnavalka Banerjee. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 20.03.2023.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 2 August 2022
                : 2 November 2022
                : 19 February 2023
                : 26 February 2023

                medical education,formative assessment,summative assessment,student,education,competency-based,proof-of-concept,perception,biochemistry,curriculum,teacher,educator,medical school,skill assessment,knowledge assessment,knowledge evaluation


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