The Relationship between Assessment Practices and Students’ Academic Performances
A Case of Undergraduate Students at the Medical School of the University of Zambia, 2008 – 2016
Keywords: Quality of Education, Examination Attrition Rates, Grade Point Average, Assessment
AbstractThe University of Zambia, School of Medicine has remained a premier academic institution that prides itself with exceptionally high outcomes. In order to delve this issue, this article investigated the relationship between assessment processes and students’ academic performance among undergraduate medical students trained at the University of Zambia, School of Medicine during the years from 2008 to 2016. A mixed methods approach involving qualitative and quantitative methodologies was employed to investigate the above-mentioned issue. An explanatory sequential research design was used for data collection. Data was captured using an evaluation survey instrument, students’ Focus Group Discussion schedule and an in-depth interview schedule for key informants regarding the GPA and examination attritions. Quantitative data from the first set were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data from the second set analysed using constant comparative method. The article revealed during the period under study that there was little timely feedback (47.8%) and, where it was done, it lacked guiding comments (48%). In addition, the article revealed that 28.8 per cent assessment tasks were misaligned with learning objectives. In conclusion, the article showed that the low students’ GPA and high examination attrition rates at the Medical School of the University of Zambia were due to improper assessment processes. In view of these findings, the article recommended that assessment tasks should be aligned with learning objectives and that feedback should be given to students on time and should be detailed.
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