Methods of Evaluation
Some of the student evaluation methods and tools used in the MSc (SLP) Program include:
Tutorial performance of the group as a whole and of each of its members (including the tutor) is evaluated on a regular basis throughout each unit. The final student grade is based on knowledge, use of learning resources, group participation and facilitation, critical appraisal skills, professional behaviours and evaluation skills (i.e., self-assessment, peer-assessment, and tutor evaluation).
Written exams using multiple choice questions (MCQs) or a short answer format are used to assess knowledge.
Modified essay questions (MEQs) are designed to assess aspects of clinical reasoning and problem-solving using a paper problem as a stimulus. The MEQ presents the student with progressive amounts of information about a practice problem in a sequence predetermined by the examiner. At successive stages, the student responds to the information and is asked to make and explain his/her decisions.
Essays are used to evaluate knowledge, critical appraisal skills, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis skills. The essay tests the understanding of principles or relationships, and fosters independent thinking and learning. Furthermore, it is used to develop and evaluate writing skills. Essays are assessed on content, organization, style, and mechanics. A problem write-up which focuses on a particular case scenario/client problem is a variation of the traditional essay.
Direct Observation is used primarily to evaluate technical/behavioural skills. This type of practical examination might be used to evaluate interviewing skills, assessment techniques, and/or use of therapeutic interventions.
Objective and Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is an objective evaluation measure used to assess components of clinical competence. It has the potential for testing a wide range of knowledge and clinical skills, and can be utilized to evaluate a large number of students during one examination period. The OSCE can be used as a formative or summative measure of student performance and also provides valuable feedback to faculty for the purpose of curriculum revision.
The OSCE is structured in such a way as to sample student performance in a variety of areas and to make maximum use of the time available. Students rotate around a series of timed stations. There may be up to 10 stations of 5 or 10 minutes in duration. At each station, students are asked to perform a specific task such as taking a patient history, performing an assessment task, teaching/counselling/advising a patient, writing a report, charting, performing a treatment technique or other clinical procedure, and interpreting findings such as test results. Examiner stations, where an observer is asked to score a student’s performance, usually entail interaction with a standardized patient. Marker stations, where a student is asked to answer written questions, record findings or interpret patient data, do not require an observer but entail subsequent marking.
Evaluation criteria are determined in advance on the basis of course objectives and student learning activities. A standardized rating form is used for evaluation by the examiners. Safety and professionalism are included within the evaluative criteria.
Presentations are also used throughout the program. A health care professional must be able to articulate and defend an opinion or position, and, to present information and ideas in an organized and clear manner. To help the students develop these skills, individual and group presentations are used as evaluation components in most units.
Learning contracts are used to evaluate student performance during clinical placement experiences and for remedial work. The use of a learning contract reinforces the student’s role as an active participant in the process of learning, rather than a passive recipient. In the professional preparation setting, learning contracts allow the student to meet the program objectives and also to pursue individual objectives. The learning contract is a document comprised of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals and is developed by the student and approved by a faculty member. It specifies what the student will learn, how this will be accomplished, within what time frame, and what specific evaluation criteria will be used for each objective. The learning contract reconciles the "imposed" requirements of the program with the learner's own personal goals and objectives. It enables the student to choose his/her own way of achieving the objectives and to self-evaluate the progress towards achieving them.