University of São Paulo: Pandemic creates demand for new evaluation of health students

Did you know that your school performance was probably measured by summative assessments? They are an evaluation method, used by most educational institutions, which seeks to analyze the progress of learning in a classificatory way, that is, making students have tests that test theoretical knowledge to pass or fail.

The problem with this reality is that there are other skills that must be taken into account when evaluating the student. “Professional competence is formed not only by the cognitive domain, but also by the domain of psychomotor skills and the domain of attitudes and professionalism”, explains professor Mariana Kiomy Osako, coordinator of the Center for Evaluation in Undergraduate Education (CAEG) of the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto (FMRP) of USP.

The teacher also says that education, as in all science, is an area of knowledge that involves research, reflection and requires constant evolution and continuous training. “It is necessary to train our teachers for a more comprehensive assessment of skills and attitudes, as well as to improve existing assessment methods in the cognitive domain. In this context, the student’s formative evaluation, which provides feedback , has also been gaining space and relevance in the training of professionals, as it is another opportunity for the evaluation to effectively promote learning ”, he adds.


Mariana Kiomy Osako, professor and coordinator of the Center for Evaluation in Undergraduate Teaching at FMRP
Health skills
The importance of reflecting on summative assessments became clearer with the need to stop face-to-face classes and remote activities during the covid-19 pandemic. In this sense, the tests that require reasoning have gained prominence among teachers for demanding more complete answers that are not easily found on the internet.


In the health area, some skills were evident, such as communication and patient care over the internet. Thus, the pandemic brought about a paradigm shift in the way of assessing the cognitive domain and a challenge to assess skills and attitudes in this new scenario of professional performance. “
Mariana Kiomy Osako
The impact of an appropriate method of assessment is reflected in the trained professional who will be in contact with society. After all, training goes beyond technical knowledge because it encompasses aspects of relationships with all agents of professional life, such as managers, peers, patients and customers. “Training teachers to make a good quality assessment helps in decision making and helps students learn what they need to know, demonstrate and do”, says Mariana.

The evaluation of the cognitive, skill and attitude domains during the student’s training enables a longitudinal and continuous monitoring with the objective of consolidating the learning in strategic points of the training. “The insertion of formative assessments with more frequent feedback and using more appropriate technical approaches and conditions also help in adjustments during training”, he adds.


Frequent evaluation and feedback can help with adjustments during the training of students in the health area – Photo: Disclosure / FMRP
Proposals for student evaluation
Among the initiatives for the optimization of student assessments is the workshop Principles and Good Practices for Student Assessment, which was carried out online in April, with the participation of teachers from the three educational institutions in order to establish the dialogue for the improvement of the evaluation methods. The event is part of the activities of the Professional Health Competence Assessment consortium: The Next Step, which is led by FMRP with the participation of the Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM) and the Faculty of Medicine of São José do Rio Preto (Famerp).

Participants were introduced to the concepts and quality criteria for student assessment and the types of assessment available for each objective. During the workshop, teachers reviewed and improved student assessment proposals for 17 courses in the health field, including all seven courses at FMRP, seven courses at UFTM and three courses at Famerp.

“Based on these proposals, there will be specific training workshops for each type of evaluation. This set of activities is foreseen in a specific project that was approved in the notice 2020-2022 called Latin America Grants, of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), and has a financing of 50 thousand dollars ”, says the professor.

The workshop was given by teachers Mariana and Elen Almeida Romão, deputy coordinator of CAEG, and by teachers Valdes Roberto Bollela and Luiz Ernesto de Almeida Troncon, coordinator and vice-coordinator of the Teaching Development Center for Teaching (CDDE), all from FMRP.

The NBME is an independent agency in the United States that carries out external evaluations of medical students and trained doctors. Passing the NBME exams is a requirement for training at the Medical Residency and for practicing the profession. In addition, the agency is a body that promotes professional education in the health professions, financing projects that favor the improvement of evaluations.

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