HOW PROPORTIONING MARKS AFFECTS THE PERFORMANCE OF ALLIED HEALTH STUDENTS IN A PHARMACOLOGY COURSE

Sheila Doggrell

Abstract


Students have higher marks in programs with a higher, rather than lower, proportion of marks allocated to ongoing assessment. There has been little attention to how the allocation of marks affects the academic performance of students in courses. One study of students in a nursing program in a pharmacology course has shown that (i) marks were much higher for ongoing assessment than examinations, (ii) there were weak relationships between marks obtained in examination and ongoing assessment, and (iii) modelling increasing the marks allocated to examinations dramatically decreased the number of students who would have passed the course. The aim of this study was to determine whether these findings extended to other allied health (paramedicine, optometry) students in the same pharmacology course. Findings were similar for the students in the paramedicine and optometry programs. Although the general trends were similar between the students in the paramedicine/optometry programs and nursing students, there were quantitative differences. For the students in the paramedicine and optometry programs, the marks are higher, there are better correlations for the marks between exams and ongoing assessment, and increasing the marks allocated to exams has a lesser effect on the pass/fail rates than for the students in the nursing program.

Keywords


pharmacology, examination, ongoing assessment, proportioning marks, allied health students

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