Assessment and feedback in post-pandemic healthcare provider education: a meta-synthesis

Lusher, Joanne, Henton, Isabel and Banbury, Samantha (2023) Assessment and feedback in post-pandemic healthcare provider education: a meta-synthesis. Journal of Modern Nursing Practice and Research, 3 (3). pp. 1-12. ISSN 2708-2202


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led both to an increased need for and a shortage of trained healthcare staff globally. The population of undergraduate students in health and social care is diverse and widening participation practices are vital to support these students to navigate through academic study. In post-pandemic higher education environments, where hybrid and blended approaches to learning are now more commonplace, research relating to students’ experience, use, perception and understanding of assessment criteria and feedback is ever more important.

Aim: The present review and qualitative thematic meta-synthesis is a secondary analysis following a primary study that aimed to understand students’ understanding of the relationship between assessment criteria and assessment feedback.

Methods: Using an integrative systematic review method, 1754 articles were initially identified via electronic searches. Study selection was conducted in a series of stages and by agreement between reviewers; 35 articles were selected that met the relevancy criteria. A screening process excluded quantitative and mixed-methods studies, leaving nine qualitative studies for analysis.

Results: Findings highlighted two intersecting themes relating to the importance of “Scaffolding assessment and feedback” and how this linked to students’ “Engagement and perceived self-efficacy”. A constructivist educational framework is proposed to scaffold students’ engagement and perceived self-efficacy in relation to assessment criteria and assessment feedback. Elements in this framework include: (1) multiple modalities for feedback to support inclusive best practice; (2) the provision of mentorship and / or reflective spaces for processing assessment criteria and feedback; and (3) a goal-oriented approach to students’ engagement with assessment criteria and feedback.

Conclusion: Such a framework will make assessment and feedback more transparent and accessible for students, broaden their focus beyond grade attainment, enable them to make links between assessment criteria, assignment writing and assessment feedback, and support inclusivity and staff-student relationships in the context of post-pandemic educational systems.

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