A remedial intervention linked to a formative assessment is effective in terms of improving student performance in subsequent degree examinations

Med Teach. 2010;32(4):e185-90. doi: 10.3109/01421591003657485.

Abstract

Background: Intervention may help weaker medical students improve their performance. However, the effectiveness of remedial intervention is inconclusive due to small sample sizes in previous studies. We asked: is remedial intervention linked to a formative assessment effective in terms of improving student performance in subsequent degree examinations?

Methods: This was a retrospective, observational study of anonymous databases of student assessment outcomes. Data were analysed for students due to graduate in the years 2005-2009 (n = 909). Exam performance was compared for students who received remediation versus those who did not. The main outcome measure was summative degree examination marks.

Results: After adjusting for cohort, gender, overseas versus home funding, previous degree and previous performance in the corresponding baseline third year summative exam, students receiving a remedial intervention (after poor performance on a formative objective structured clinical examination and written exams mid-fourth year) were significantly more likely to obtain an improved mark on end-of-fourth year summative written (p = 0.005) and OSCE (p = 0.001) exams compared to those students who did not receive remediation.

Conclusion: A remedial intervention linked to poor assessment performance predicted improved performance in later examination. There is a need for prospective studies in order to identify the effective components of remedial interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Databases as Topic
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Educational Measurement*
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observation
  • Remedial Teaching / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Medical*
  • Young Adult