The Progress Test is an objective test to measure medical students’ progression in their medical knowledge. During the Progress Test, it’s not the medical curriculum that’s tested, but rather the broad knowledge that students picked up during their medical education. Several medical faculties work together to provide their students with relevant questions of high quality during the Progress Test. Starting September 2022, the Progress Test will not be held in its original form anymore.
Currently, medical students make the Progress Test on paper or online on campus, or online from home due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The new form of the Progress Test is an adaptive test, which means that the test will not be taken by all students at the same time any longer. In contrast to the situation, every student will be assigned a time slot in the digital test environment to make the Progress Test. The transition to an adaptive test is accompanied by several changes, which will be explained in this post.
Adaptive testing – a big step forward
Using the computer adaptive Progress Test, we will facilitate a modern, more advanced Progress Test for medical students. The adaptive Progress Test will always be held on a computer. Adaptive testing includes questions that are adapted to the student’s knowledge level with the increasing number of Progress Tests that the student takes. Since the difficulty of the questions in the question bank is known, we can provide every student with questions that fit their level of medical knowledge. Furthermore, every question is presented to the student based on the answer to the preceding question(s). Hence, when a student answers a question correctly, he or she will receive a more difficult question afterwards. Accordingly, when a student answers a question incorrectly, he or she will receive an easier question then the prior question. This adaptation of questions will proceed until a certain conclusion about the student’s current medical knowledge can be drawn. Nevertheless, the blueprint (e.g., the Progress Test content specifications; categories and disciplines) of the Progress Test will not change. The algorithm of the Progress Test will still cover all medical fields during the test.
The new approach of adaptive testing offers several benefits. For example, the technology behind adaptive testing provides possibilities to estimate students’ knowledge level even more precisely, while requiring less time and questions. However, some changes were inevitable. Firstly, students can no longer take the test booklet with questions home, since the adaptive Progress Test will now be held exclusively online. The questions will then remain in the question bank. To ensure that students still remember what the questions of the Progress Test were about, the students will receive a short description of the content of the question, as well as whether or not the question was answered correctly. Secondly, the option for a question mark will be removed. This feature does not support the adaptive environment, because it will not provide adequate information whether or not the student has knowledge on the topic of the question. It is therefore important that you answer every question as good as possible, as this determines the next question that you will receive. However, the adaptive characteristic will eventually improve the Progress Test, resulting in less questions that you will not be able to answer.
More information on the new, adaptive approach of the Progress Test will follow later this academic year. We will also organise a Q&A session. Everything you need to know about adaptive (progress) testing will be provided to you. Additionally, the information will be posted on www.ivtg.nl and on the local virtual education platforms. Students will also have the option to give adaptive testing a try.
If you like to learn more about adaptive testing, you can watch the following short video on the technology behind computer adaptive testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvFNwR8ABo4&t=65s, or search YouTube for “computer adaptive testing” to find a video that suits you best.