Pre-testing as an indicator of performance in final examinations among third year medical students

Authors

  • Sehlule Vuma
  • Bidyadhar Sa
  • Samuel Ramsewak

Keywords:

Academic performance, correlations, prediction, success

Abstract

This paper reports on the relationship between pre-testing and student performance in final examinations. Diagnostic pre-testing is a valuable tool that identifies gaps in knowledge among students; identifies teaching requirements, and helps direct teaching programmes to take corrective measures. Pre-test scores may also help to predict student performance in final examinations. A retrospective descriptive correlational analysis was conducted on third year medical students, performance in the total haematology components of selected multi-specialty final integrated examinations in four third year courses and one related first year course. These students had previously been given a diagnostic pre-test in haematology at the start of their third year programme. Of the 159 students eligible for the study, 130 passed and 29 failed the pre-test. Some students responded to the interventions instituted after the diagnostic pre-test and others did not. The pre-test proved to be a good predictor of final results. Correlation between the pre-test and the total haematology components of the different final integrated examinations ranged from r= .264 to r= .475) and between the pretest and the final integrated examinations ranged from r= .375 to r= .467. It was concluded that the pre-testing grade is a reliable indicator of performance in the final examinations. However interventions need to be revised to encourage more individual, student engagement.

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