Which factors, personal or external, most influence students' generation of learning goals?

Acad Med. 2010 Oct;85(10 Suppl):S102-5. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181ed42f2.


Background: While concern has been expressed about the validity of self-assessments, external feedback is likely filtered through self-assessment. This paper explores the relationship between self-assessments and feedback uptake.

Method: During an objective structured clinical examination, students were asked to evaluate their performance and rate the quality of feedback provided by observers. Afterward, they were asked to list learning goals they generated, to indicate what activities they would undertake to fulfill those goals, and to identify which station(s) led them to generate each response. Regression analyses were used to determine which variables predicted the generation of goals/activities.

Results: Students' perceptions of their own performance were more likely to result in the generation of goals/strategies than was observer feedback or student perceptions of observer feedback quality. Later stations were more likely to result in goal/strategy generation than earlier stations.

Conclusions: While self-assessments may not validly indicate ability, it is still critical to determine how students perceive their ability because their opinions drive their learning goals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Learning*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Evaluation Programs*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*