The Impact of Collaborative Testing on Content Retention in Baccalaureate Nursing Students

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Amy Jane Witt, PhD, MSN, BSN
Julie Anne DeHaan, MSN, BSN
Bethany Joy Gerdin, PhD
Department of Nursing, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, USA

Purpose. Collaborative testing is an educational method promoting communication and creativity, which are essential qualities of an effective nurse. Collaborative testing is reported to foster peer-mediated learning, problem solving, and content retention. This testing method is relatively new, however, and limited data exists that demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborative testing on content retention and student perception. The objective of this study is to quantify the reported benefits of collaborative testing.

Research Questions. 1). Does collaborative testing improve content retention when compared to traditional exam styles? 2). Are there significant differences in content retention between students who retested collaboratively compared to those who retested individually with notes? 3). What are nursing students’ perceptions of the collaborative testing process?

Theoretical Framework. For much of nursing inquiry, pragmatist research is relevant for application to nursing education because it emphasizes the practical, judges the usefulness of inquiry in making change, considers real life situations important in understanding the phenomena, and believes knowledge development is value-laden. It allows various perspectives to address the research question, considering real life situations important in the ongoing understanding of phenomena.

Methods. This study was conducted among junior-level baccalaureate nursing students. Student exam scores, pre and post-collaborative testing data inventories, and demographic information were collected. Students were divided into two groups, and all students took two written exams and two practical exams. All students took each exam individually, retesting immediately afterwards. One group retested in a small, collaborative group while the other section retested individually using class notes. Each student completed one pair of exams using each method. Students were also given a quiz during and after the semester to measure short and long term retention.

Results. The data gathering has completed and the data is currently being analyzed.

Conclusions. Collaborative testing could revolutionize nursing education by promoting genuine learning in nursing students, as well as by fostering critical characteristics of an effective nurse, such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.