Red, yellow and green: What does it mean? How the progress test informs and supports student progress.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES Most medical schools using progress tests (PTs) provide feedback by utilizing a traffic-light system of green (satisfactory), yellow (borderline) and red (unsatisfactory) categories. There is little research assessing students' perceptions or usage of this feedback. Therefore this study proposed to determine the effectiveness of formative PTs at informing and supporting student progress. METHODS A mixed methods study was performed, involving a retrospective analysis of a results database to establish the predictive validity of PT categories and 11 semi-structured interviews to explore students' perceptions of PT feedback in a graduate entry medical programme. RESULTS Quantitative analysis revealed that students who always scored green performed better in their summative exams and graduated with a higher final degree than those who received a yellow or red category at least once. Qualitative analysis revealed that just over half of the interviewed students perceived the PT as having informed their progress. Most participants agreed that the current feedback is insufficient and doesn't guide their on-going learning. CONCLUSION While this study demonstrated that the PT is a useful predictive tool for informing student progress, in its current format it's not fulfilling a truly formative role and supporting student progress sufficiently.

Cite this paper

@article{Given2016RedYA, title={Red, yellow and green: What does it mean? How the progress test informs and supports student progress.}, author={Karen Given and Ailish Hannigan and Deirdre McGrath}, journal={Medical teacher}, year={2016}, volume={38 10}, pages={1025-1032} }