The relationship between formative and summative assessment of undergraduates in oral surgery.

Research paper by Helen H Anziani, Justin J Durham, Undrell U Moore

Indexed on: 22 Nov '08Published on: 22 Nov '08Published in: European Journal of Dental Education


Regular, on-going formative assessments or a more comprehensive end of program summative assessment can be used to assess student's progress. The literature is scarce regarding the use of both types of assessment coincidentally and if the outcomes of formative assessments can predict the grades achieved summatively. This paper investigates whether there is any correlation between the formative assessments used in routine clinical contacts in the Newcastle course and the final summative assessment grade.The logbooks of 72 third year dental students were examined to collect data on the gradings achieved for formative and summative assessments. The categories of history and presentation, local anaesthesia, extraction and overall grades for each were compared using Spearman's Rho.Six logbooks were incomplete so were omitted from analysis (n = 66). In the formative assessment, the total number of teeth extracted was 1913, giving a mean per student of 29 (SD = 6.88). In the summative assessment, 15 students failed on their first attempt but all subsequently passed on resit.Positive correlation was found within each of the two types of assessment but no correlation was found between the overall grades for the formative and summative assessment. The overall grade achieved by a student in the formative assessment does not appear to predict their grade in the summative. The use of both assessments is beneficial, however, their use together must be considered carefully to avoid confusing students.