It has become axiomatic that assessment impacts powerfully on student learning, but there is a surprising dearth of research on how. This study explored the mechanism of impact of summative assessment on the process of learning of theory in higher education. Individual, in-depth interviews were conducted with medical students and analyzed qualitatively. The impact of assessment on learning was mediated through various determinants of action. Respondents' learning behaviour was influenced by: appraising the impact of assessment; appraising their learning response; their perceptions of agency; and contextual factors. This study adds to scant extant evidence and proposes a mechanism to explain this impact. It should help enhance the use of assessment as a tool to augment learning.
- Mechanism of impact
- Determinants of action