Does formative assessment help students to acquire prescribing skills?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE: Formative assessments can help motivate students and ease students' learning through feedback. There is a pressing need for improvement of clinical pharmacotherapy (CPT) education since junior doctors make many prescribing errors. The aim of this study was to determine whether a formative assessment with personalized narrative feedback helps medical students to increase their prescribing skills.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort study was conducted among masters' medical students at Erasmus Medical Centre, The Netherlands. Students made a formative and a summative skill-based prescription assessment, both during clerkships as part of their regular curriculum. Errors in both assessments were categorized by type and possible consequence and compared with each other.

RESULTS: A total of 388 students made 1964 errors in the formative assessment and 1016 in the summative assessment. Most improvements after the formative assessment were seen for mentioning the weight of a child on the prescription (n = 242, 19%). Most new and repeated errors in the summative assessment were missing usage instructions (n = 82, 16% and n = 121, 41%).

CONCLUSIONS: This formative assessment with personalized and individual narrative feedback has helped students to increase the technical correctness of their prescriptions. However, errors repeated after the feedback were predominantly errors showing that only one formative assessment has not yet enhanced the clinical prescribing enough.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-540
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
Early online date22 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2022YFF1302502-03) (China) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (42230714).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Does formative assessment help students to acquire prescribing skills?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this