Learning through authentic assessment: an evaluation of a new development in the undergraduate midwifery curriculum

Jane E Raymond, Caroline S E Homer, Rachel Smith, Joanne E Gray
Nurse Education in Practice 2013, 13 (5): 471-6
Assessment is a powerful influence on learning, and can form an important strategy amongst a variety of teaching and learning approaches. Authentic assessment activities are designed to mimic the complexity of 'real world' situations that students may encounter in professional life, and require the application of a combination of skills related to knowledge, skills and attitude. We undertook a small-scale evaluation using a qualitative descriptive design to explore the feasibility and usefulness of an authentic assessment item that focused on a common clinical scenario in midwifery practice, female catheterisation. Seven third year Bachelor of Midwifery students and three teaching staff volunteered to participate in the project. During the process the students videoed the scenario for peer assessment, developed marking criteria, completed an online survey and participated in a focus group. The findings demonstrated that the students' confidence, knowledge and skills improved as a result of participating in the assessment item and they rated it positively for use in the Bachelor of Midwifery curriculum as a means of increasing real world assessment activities. It is anticipated that this learning strategy will be further refined and integrated in various ways into other clinical midwifery subjects in the midwifery curriculum.

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