A Progress Test is similar to a final exam in which all (cognitive) learning goals of the curriculum are tested. The medical faculties of Nijmegen, Maastricht, Groningen, Leiden, Amsterdam (VUMC and AMC), Rotterdam and soon also Utrecht work together to provide their students with relevant questions of high quality. It’s not the teaching material that’s tested with the progress test, but rather one’s knowledge throughout the study program. The Progress Test tests the students’ readily available knowledge, which is how differences in knowledge levels will result in differences in test scores. The Progress Test is held four times a year; most of the times this is in September, December, February, and May. The anticipation is that every individual student receives a higher test score with every following progress test as a result of newly acquired medical knowledge. From September 2022 onwards, the progress test is an adaptive test which is made digitally.
The goal of the Progress Test is to stimulate students to study continuously throughout the medical study program instead of studying for exams only. Considering the capacity of the progress test and the fact that the progress test focusses on the end goals of the medical curriculum, it is nearly impossible to study explicitly for the progress test. In addition, one can determine to what extend a student has reached the end goals of the curriculum and how much knowledge has been acquired during a certain amount of time.
The Progress Test provides information that can be used on different levels. First of all, the progress test gives the student information about his/her improvements and knowledge level, e.g. by comparing results with other students from the same study year. Secondly, the Progress Test provides the study counselors with information that can be of benefit for the students’ guidance and may help to determine study problems early on. Thirdly, universities can acquire information about the curriculum by comparing different cohorts. This will provide insights on how well the curriculum functions, which makes it possible to change courses if problems arise. Publications on pogress testing can be found here.