Practical session assessments in human anatomy: weightings and performance Academic Article uri icon


  • Assessment weighting within a given module can be a motivating factor for students when deciding on their commitment level and time given to study a specific topic. In this study, an analysis of assessment performances of second year anatomy students was performed over four years to determine if (1) students performed better when a higher weighting was given to a set of practical session assessments and (2) whether an improved performance in the practical session assessments had a carry-over effect on other assessment tasks within that anatomy module and/or other anatomy modules that follow. Results showed that increasing the weighting of practical session assessments improved the average mark in that assessment and also improved the percentage of students passing that assessment. Further, it significantly improved performance in the written end-semester examination within the same module and had a carry-over effect on the anatomy module taught in the next teaching period, as students performed better in subsequent practical session assessments as well as subsequent end-semester examinations. It was concluded that the weighting of assessments had significant influences on a student's performance in that, and subsequent, assessments. It is postulated that practical session assessments, designed to develop deep learning skills in anatomy, improved efficacy in student performance in assessments undertaken in that and subsequent anatomy modules when the weighting of these assessments was greater. These deep learning skills were also transferable to other methods of assessing anatomy. Anat Sci Educ 9: 330-336. © 2015 American Association of Anatomists.

publication date

  • July 2016