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Assessing student reasoning

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Reasoning is a vital aspect of a student’s education: the ability to think critically, make sense of new information, and organise knowledge to make decisions is as important as being able to memorise and retain information. But how you do gauge the reasoning skills of an entire classroom?

Enter: the Script Concordance Test.

What is a Script Concordance Test?

To assess his students’ reasoning skills, Professor Bernard Charlin from the University of Montreal came up with the Script Concordance Test, “an educational tool that aims to assess the ability to interpret medical information under conditions of uncertainty”.

Here’s how professors at Canada’s McGill Centre for Medical Education describe the exercise:

The script concordance test (SCT) is used in health professions education to assess a specific facet of clinical reasoning competence: the ability to interpret medical information under conditions of uncertainty. ( … ) SCT scores are meant to reflect how closely respondents’ ability to interpret clinical data compares with that of experienced clinicians in a given knowledge domain. (Lubarsky S., Dory V., Duggan P., Gagnon R., Charlin B., 2014).

This higlights two central elements of the SCT:

  • There is a degree of uncertainty: Unlike multiple-choice tests, SCTs do not focus on the “good answer”; instead, they explore how new information is being processed to confirm or eliminate clinical hypotheses.
  • Student answers are compared with experts’: Because there is not one single “good answer”, the students’ reasoning is compared with that of experts in the field.

How does it work?

Students are given a general case description, a preliminary hypothesis (e.g. investigative action), and an additional piece of information. Using a Likert scale, they must evaluate the impact of that new information on the original hypothesis, and provide a comment to support their reasoning.
Their answers are then compared to those provided by a panel of experts.

Fournier, Jean Paul & Demeester, Anne & Charlin, Bernard. (2008). Script Concordance Tests: Guidelines for Construction. BMC medical informatics and decision making. 8. 18. 10.1186/1472–6947–8–18.

Script Concordance Testing on Wooclap

Wooclap allows you to collect, display, and compare the answers of students and experts on a single platform.

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Sign up for free and try out Wooclap’s Script Concordance Test for yourself!

Find out more:

Vital S, Wulfman C, Girard F, Tamimi F, Charlin B, Ducret M. Script concordance tests: A call for action in dental education. Eur J Dent Educ. 2021;00:1–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/eje.12649

Gauthier Lebbe

Gauthier Lebbe

Content Editor @ Wooclap, interested in and excited about applying EdTech to the educational needs of today’s students