Assessment: Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty? Evolution of final examinations at the Royal Veterinary College.J Vet Med Educ. 2008 Winter; 35(4):607-11.JV
Teachers of veterinary medicine frequently regard assessment as a Cinderella subject. Consciously or unconsciously, they allow assessment systems to become faithful slaves, brought out and dusted off when required, out of sight and out of mind at other times. This often means that assessment is last on the priority list when educational development is considered. Pedagogical literature is full of references to the power of appropriate assessment systems and the role that they can play in shaping and driving the learning environment. "Assessment drives learning" and "Students respect what is inspected" are the headlines associated with such references, and this viewpoint places assessment much more in the role of a Sleeping Beauty, requiring only a simple touch to become a vehicle for modernizing an educational system. This article uses an example of change to a UK veterinary final examination to present the tensions between these contrasting views, and some solutions for them, in an effort to fuel the debate on improving the use of assessment.