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Undergraduate Medical Education > Student Assessment

Student Assessment


Students are assessed in various ways throughout each Phase. 
Formative assessments are designed to monitor and support student learning, providing ongoing feedback which enables students to improve performance and prepare for summative assessments. 
Summative assessments are comprehensive assessments used to make decisions about passing the course and the need for remediation. Summative exams are 
scheduled approximately every four weeks covering material of that lecture block. This periodic assessment allows for early detection and remediation of students experiencing difficulties. Summative exams are computer-based using the Questionmark software. Questionmark offers secure online exams and provides powerful reporting and analytical tools.
In this section you will find detailed information on the following:

Types of assessment
Assessment plans
Preparing exam questions and the exam question submission checklist
Assessment FAQ
Assessment regulations and policies 


Types of assessment

The following assessment modalities are used in Phases 1, 2 and 3:

Formative assessment: Practice tests and peer assessment
Formative assessment includes self- and peer-assessment as well as self-testing in the form of practice tests (quizzes) or study questions with feedback. For courses utilizing Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) for their summative assessment, weekly formative quizzes are provided to the students via D2L to prepare for their summative exam. The MCQ questions used in the formative quizzes are similar in format and content to the questions in the summative exam. Students do not receive participation marks for completing the formative quizzes. 
Students utilize peer assessment during the Integrated Learning Sessions. 

Multiple Choice Questions and Short Answer Questions
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) are commonly used for summative assessment. MCQ are used to assess students' knowledge of the course content, 
the student’s understanding of the topic, and ability to reason through a clinical or other problem. 

Written assignments
Written assignments are used in most courses of the undergraduate medical education curriculum for summative assessment. They 
assess the student’s ability to communicate effectively and clearly in writing, using a logical and well-organized structure to present findings and support conclusions. The specific requirements for written assignments vary according to the objectives of the course. Examples of written assignments are reflective essays about clinical experiences, essays on health-related topics or case studies. 

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations are a key component of small-group learning and tutorials. Presentations are also part of the assessment of the Special Projects Course. 

Clinical Skills Assessment and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE)
Clinical Skills is assessed using formative and summative examinations. The summative assessment consists mainly of assessment reports and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE). 
OSCE are station-based clinical skills examinations used in clinical skills courses and in clerkship. Students rotate through a series of rooms, and in each one are required to simulate a real clinical encounter with a Standardized Patient who is assigned a particular case, while being observed by a faculty examiner. The student is expected to complete specific tasks and, toward the end of each station, may be asked a small number of questions by the examiner. Students are given a global rating on each OSCE station, and examiners may also be asked to complete a checklist documenting the student’s performance on all aspects of the station.
Formative assessment includes evaluations interviews, small group sessions and practice OSCE. For more information on Clinical Skills, refer to the Clinical Skills section of the handbook.

For complete assessment plans for each course, click on the links below:
Phase 1 assessment plans
Phase 2 assessment plans
Phase 3 assessment plans

Assessment during Phase 4/Clerkship

For assessment during Phase 4/Clerkship refer to the Preceptorship in Phase 4/Clerkship section of the handbook. 

Preparing questions for Multiple-Choice-Question examinations

Faculty who teach
as part of the health-stage courses in Phases 1, 2 and 3, are required to submit questions for formative and summative assessment for the session(s) taught. Email reminders are sent to all teaching faculty when exam questions need to be submitted. The number of questions that need to be provided is proportional to the contact hours of teaching. Generally for one hour of instructional time three formative and five summative questions have to be submitted (see submission of exam questions document below for reasons why eight questions are required). The process for collecting exam questions and the question review process is outlined in the Assessment Question Workflow below. Use the exam question submission checklist below before submitting questions.   

Explainer Video on How to Design MCQ
Assessment Question Workflow
Exam question submission checklist
Guidelines for writing exam questions (NBME standards)

Assessment FAQ

Are students given all the formative questions that are submitted?
Do students get to keep all the formative questions? If so, will the same formative questions be used each year?

If a question was used in previous years as a formative question, can I switch it to a summative question, and vice versa? 
How was the formula of three formative and five sumative questions per hour of instructional time developed? Can I submit more?
What is the rationale for the current deadlines for submitting questions? 
What happends if I miss a deadline for submitting a question? 
I submitted questions for this session in the past. Why do I receive a request for questions every year?

If "x" number of questions per session are needed, and this is what I submit, can some of these be deleted?
Can the questions I submit altered in any way? 
How can I access questions that I used in past exams?
What happends to my exam questions after I submit them?
What criteria are used to evaluate the questions I submit?
Can my questions be deleted without my permission?
How many and which of my questions are put on the exam?
I submitted five questions. Only two of them were used on the summative exam. Why weren't all of my questions used?
If not all of my summative questions are used, why can't the students have access to the remainder as formative questions for practice?

What happens to the extra summative questions I submit that are not used for an exam?
Can I view the exam before it is given to students? 
Will there be a process in place for selecting questions for exams in future years once there is a large enough question bank? Will I get a request each year to submit questions? Will duplicates be identified?
Who invigilates summative exams?
Is there a post exam review of the questions and student performance?
Will I get stats on how students performed on my questions?

Assessment regulations and policies

Exam deferral 
Exam or assessment deferral is granted to students for the following reasons:
  • Family death
  • Incapacitating illness
  • Representation of university/medical school at a recognized function
The Phase Lead will normally make the decision to grant deferral or not. Students must request an exam deferral usually prior to the exam date and provide supporting documentation (e.g. a physician's note in the case of illness). For the complete exam deferral procedure, refer to the Exam Deferral Policy.  

Student promotion
The Student Promotions Committee reviews grades of all students. The criteria for each grade are dependent on the course and outlined in the assessment plans above. The Student Promotions Committee recommends graduation, promotion, repetition or withdrawal for each student. For more information refer to the UGME Promotion Policy

The Undergraduate Medical Studies (UGMS) Committee, a standing committee of Faculty
Council, has responsibility for the oversight of undergraduate medical education, including
student assessment and relevant policies and procedures.
The Student Assessment Subcommittee (SAS) of the UGMS Committee has responsibility for developing and reviewing an overall strategy for student assessment for the undergraduate medical education curriculum, advising the UGMS Committee on student assessment policy and its implementation, and evaluating all aspects of the assessment of student achievement in the curriculum. The following policies govern student assessment in Phases 1, 2 and 3: formative assessment policy, summative assessment policy and examination invigilation policy
Last Updated 2018-06-01 10:16:31 AM
Disclaimer: This handbook is in review.  Many sections are under development and final implementation is subject to the approval of the Office of Faculty Relations.