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Keywords:

  • anatomy;
  • feedback;
  • formative assessment;
  • quiz;
  • spaced education;
  • student learning

Abstract

Providing formative assessment opportunities has been recognised as a significant benefit to student learning. The outcome of any formative assessment should be one that ultimately helps improve student learning through familiarising students with the levels of learning required, informing them about gaps in their learning and providing feedback to guide the direction of learning. This article provides an example of how formative assessments can be developed into a formative assessment journey where a number of different assessments can be offered to students during the course of a module of teaching, thus utilising a spaced-education approach. As well as incorporating the specific drivers of formative assessment, we demonstrate how approaches deemed to be stimulating, interactive and entertaining with the aim of maximising enthusiasm and engagement can be incorporated. We provide an example of a mixed approach to evaluating elements of the assessment journey that focuses student reaction, appraisal of qualitative and quantitative feedback from student questionnaires, focus group analysis and teacher observations. Whilst it is not possible to determine a quantifiable effect of the assessment journey on student learning, usage data and student feedback shows that formative assessment can achieve high engagement and positive response to different assessments. Those assessments incorporating an active learning element and a quiz-based approach appear to be particularly popular. A spaced-education format encourages a building block approach to learning that is continuous in nature rather than focussed on an intense period of study prior to summative examinations.