High-Stakes Collaborative Testing: Why Not?

Ruth E. Levine, Nicole J. Borges, Brenda J.B. Roman, Lisa R. Carchedi, Mark H. Townsend, Jeffrey S. Cluver, Julia Frank, Oma Morey, Paul Haidet, Britta M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Phenomenon: Studies of high-stakes collaborative testing remain sparse, especially in medical education. We explored high-stakes collaborative testing in medical education, looking specifically at the experiences of students in established and newly formed teams. Approach: Third-year psychiatry students at 5 medical schools across 6 sites participated, with 4 participating as established team sites and 2 as comparison team sites. For the collaborative test, we used the National Board of Medical Examiners Psychiatry subject test, administering it via a 2-stage process. Students at all sites were randomly selected to participate in a focus group, with 8–10 students per site (N = 49). We also examined quantitative data for additional triangulation. Findings: Students described a range of heightened emotions around the collaborative test yet perceived it as valuable regardless if they were in established or newly formed teams. Students described learning about the subject matter, themselves, others, and interpersonal dynamics during collaborative testing. Triangulation of these results via quantitative data supported these themes. Insights: Despite student concerns, high-stakes collaborative tests may be both valuable and feasible. The data suggest that high-stakes tests (tests of learning or summative evaluation) could also become tests for learning or formative evaluation. The paucity of research into this methodology in medical education suggests more research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • academic performance
  • collaborative testing
  • emotional intelligence
  • team-based learning
  • teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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