What is Progress Testing?

A Progress Test is like a final exam in which all (cognitive) learning goals of the curriculum are tested. In contrast to a ‘normal’ final exam, all students are participating instead of only last year’s students. The growing knowledge level among students of different years leads to different test results.

Four times a year, about 10.000 students of five distinct universities participate in the Progress Test of Medicine to measure their acquired knowledge. To prevent a learning effect due to identical questions, every time another test will be given. Nonetheless, the aim is to keep difficulty and knowledge areas similar in every test. It is expected that individual students increase their score at each test due to their progression in the curriculum.

The aim of progress testing is stimulating a continuous learning process instead of exam directed learning. By its focusing on end goals and extensive amount of questions, targeted learning for a progress test is almost ruled out. Furthermore, one can measure a student’s progression in reaching end learning goals and acquiring knowledge.

The information that is gained by progress testing can be used at several levels. Firstly, it gives students a view on their knowledge progression and the ability to compare their level of knowledge with peer students. Secondly, it offers study advisors tools in student supporting and enables early detection of students with possible learning difficulties. Thirdly, universities gain information about their curriculum. By comparing different student cohorts of one university or student cohorts of different universities, insight in the functioning of a curriculum can be obtained.

Publications about progress testing can be found here.