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Investigation of Formative Assessment of Learning (INFORMAL): The Performance Indicator Tool (PIT)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Philip J. Dutton, Helen E. Bickerstaff, Janice M. Rymer, Mary E. Webb, Deborah Ballinger-Mills, Anne Greenough, Patricia A. Reynolds

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalTechnology, Knowledge and Learning
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2017

King's Authors


This pilot study evaluated the student user experience of a performance indicator tool (PIT) for formative assessment of a cohort of fourth year medical undergraduates undertaking a 12 week rotation. Scoping and elaboration for the standalone web-based tool was based on the existing paper-based formative assessment system for which training and secure access was made available through the Virtual Campus at King’s College London. Thirty-eight participants were randomly assigned to four groups. A baseline survey on formative assessment was carried out in Term 1 by all groups. In Term 2, two groups received the PIT and two the paper-based system. The PIT and paper-based groups were further split into those who gained formative assessment at the end, and those at the middle and end of rotation. Evaluation was by online student satisfaction questionnaires and focus groups. Term 1 baseline survey (n = 13) revealed a lack of one-to-one formal feedback. In evaluation by satisfaction questionnaire (n = 8) and focus groups (n = 30), students valued personalised feedback, and mid-rotation feedback allowed students to reflect prior to the end of rotation. However, some students felt that their tutor did not know them as well as others, thus adversely affecting their feedback. A functional web-based PIT was developed including tutor–student discussion spaces. Students found feedback very valuable. Those involved found the PIT easy to access and use, preferring formative assessment two thirds into the rotation. The PIT has wider applicability within the College for all healthcare faculties and may help improve student satisfaction.

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