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Innovation in the assessment of nursing theory and its evaluation: a team approach


Janet M. Dean University of Southampton School of Nursing and Midwifery, South Academic Block, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, England.


In response to recent national changes in United Kingdom (UK) nurse education (e.g. devolution of assessment, moves to higher education, revision of the aims) and to local concerns (e.g. fairness to students, validity and reliability of written assessments, helping staff with less experience of assessment, student learning) an initiative has been developed at Southampton based on a team approach to marking and moderating. A five-stage evaluation was designed to accompany implementation of the initiative. The evaluation, carried out by a lecturer and an independent educational evaluator, involved both tutors/lecturers and students. Interviews, questionnaires and observation methods were used. Benefits of the initiative and of the particular model of evaluation included: increased knowledge and confidence in the validity and reliability of the marking and moderating process undertaken by tutor-teams; increased fairness to students; in-service tutor training related to student assessment; knowledge that assessment-promoted learning was taking place. A review of the total assessment programme was an unexpected outcome, including a review of the frequency and timing of assessments and of the written guidelines. The five-stage evaluation developed a feeling of involvement and heightened self-knowledge. Curricular understanding also increased; this helped to achieve the initiative as designed and intended. We recommend this model of evaluation; it promotes involvement of all concerned, students as well as staff, and generates valuable process-knowledge. It can be used in pre- and post-registration nurse education.

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