“Too bad we can’t do that on the exam!” When the summative assessment forms an integral part of the learning process: the revisited case method
The decision to experiment with a new form of assessment discussed in this article and use the case method (CM) resulted from a student’s remark which expressed a sentiment shared by classmates, following an activity recently conducted in class that he liked: “Too bad we can’t do that on the exam!” The author of this article, a orthotics and orthopedic prosthetics techniques teacher, realized one day that the final examinations for his courses covered the basic cognitive taxonomic levels, such as acquisition, comprehension and application of knowledge, rather than requiring students to demonstrate their capacity to analyse, synthesise or assess, as set out in the competencies associated with his courses. To remedy this serious shortcoming and assess students’ learning based on the expected taxonomic level for a final performance, he began to use CM as a final examination strategy. Through actual cases taken from the professional experience of several colleagues, CM lets him validate the attainment of course skills by students through assessment of both the process and the subject, the outcome being assessed by producing an actual orthotic intended for a real patient at the college’s school clinic, in a separate assessment. To clearly explain the organization of this final examination, the author first describes what constitutes a CM and how he applies it in his courses as a learning activity. He then describes the CM methods used as the final assessment, the results obtained from this new approach, and the pitfalls to avoid in its application, to guide teachers interested in trying out CM in their courses.
Available on the AQPC website, a supplement in PDF format accompanies this article: using an example from his practice, the author explains the key aspects to consider when writing a case.
Article available in French only.
The Centre de documentation collégiale (CDC) offers an extensive collection of documents on college-level education and on education in general, produced by professionals in leading facilities and organizations.