Pharmacy students' perceptions of assessment and its impact on learning

B.S. Malau-Aduli, R. Preston, M. Adu, F. Alele, M. Gratani, A. Drovandi, I. Heslop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Outcomes-based education requires active student learning with assessment strategies that foster deep approaches to learning, which are often influenced by students' perceptions of assessment. We aimed to investigate the perceptions of pharmacy students at an Australian university about their experiences of assessment and its impact on their learning.

A mixed-methods study was conducted involving a self-administered questionnaire and semi-structured focus groups. Descriptive statistics were used to rate the perceived value of different assessment tools and confirmed by themes arising from the focus groups. Examination results over a five-year period were also collated to assess congruence between perceptions and academic performance.

From the 123 questionnaire and nine focus group participants, short-answer questions were the most positively-received form of assessment due to students being able to demonstrate and receive marks for partial knowledge. Multiple-choice questions received mixed response as they were cited as being useful in assessing student knowledge but potentially difficult to interpret/answer correctly. Reflective pieces received the lowest ratings and were considered the least beneficial. Key identified themes were ensuring quality assurance of assessment processes, use of authentic assessment, timely feedback, and appropriate match between workload and assessment weightings. Overall, there was congruence between students' exam scores and their perceptions of the different assessment types.

Strategic planning and delivery of correctly-weighted authentic assessments with the provision of constructive feedback are key elements for active engagement of students and achievement of life-long learning outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-579
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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