Gondhalekar, AR, Rees, EL, Ntuiabane, D, Janjua, O, Choa, G, Eboreime, O and Sturrock, A (2020) Levelling the playing field: students' motivations to contribute to an amnesty of assessment materials. BMC Medical Education, 20 (1). 450 - ?. ISSN 1472-6920

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BACKGROUND: 'Exam recall' is a recognised phenomenon whereby students recall and record questions after leaving the examination hall. This poses two main problems. First, as these questions are only available to peers of the students who recall the questions, these individuals have an unfair advantage. Secondly, the distribution of these recalled questions poses a threat to the validity and defensibility of assessments. To address the first of these problems, we developed an amnesty enabling students to submit assessment material to an on-line site. This study sought to explore which factors influence students' contributions to an amnesty of assessment material. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured focus groups. We used convenience sampling and recruited participants from all years of our undergraduate medical programme. The focus groups were facilitated by a medical student peer to reduce the power imbalance and encourage participants to discuss candidly. The focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Two researchers independently analysed all transcripts using thematic analysis and the research team met regularly to discuss emergent findings. Nvivo was used to assist with thematic analysis of the transcripts. RESULTS: Twenty-six individuals participated in six focus groups. Six themes were identified through the analysis, which were categorised into motivating factors and de-motivating factors. Motivating factors were a perception that this would overcome inequity, a fear of repercussions, and the perceived usefulness of resources. Factors that prevented students contributing were a culture of competition, a lack of incentives, and mistrust of the medical school. CONCLUSIONS: The establishment of an amnesty was acceptable to students and they were motivated to contribute materials. The competitive nature of medical careers and the stakes of summative assessments meant that students felt that some peers might still not contribute their materials. Students felt that the school were listening to their concerns and this led to a better dialogue between students and faculty.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cheating, Examination, Fairness, Focus group, inequity, Medical education, Qualitative, Undergraduate
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education. Medical schools. Research
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Primary, Community and Social Care
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 15:13
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2021 14:55
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9019

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