Alternative terms: interim test, multiple-choice test, MC test, true-or-false questions
What is it?
Progress tests (PTs) are digital or written knowledge tests encompassing the entire body of knowledge of the profession for which the programme trains its students. The PT consists of an item database with a large number of multiple-choice questions relating to all fields of knowledge significant to your professional expertise. National PTs test the knowledge base established at national level. PTs for particular programmes test the knowledge base upon which the programme's exit qualifications are based.
PTs are curriculum-independent and conducted once every quarter throughout the entire degree programme. They encourage a continual learning process. There is no point cramming for PTs as they contain fields of knowledge and subjects that have not yet been addressed. For this reason, the percentage of questions that you must answer correctly differs between the PTs in the propaedeutic, main and graduation phases.
The objective of the PT is to give you insight into what specific knowledge you already possess/do not yet possess. The feedback function is central to this process and the emphasis is on the diagnostic (formative) application. The PT score can be included in the final mark (weighting). With digital PTs, you are given your mark and receive feedback straight away.
PTs give lecturers insight into the degree of competency a particular group of students possesses regarding the knowledge base. Based on this information, the lecturer can adjust the education provided if necessary.
A national PT gives students and programmes the opportunity to compare their scores with other programmes. For national PTs, the Examination Board governing the degree programme in question will determine the number of credits the PT carries each academic year.
What is tested?
- The degree of professional knowledge that you possess.
- Your progress in relation to previous PTs.
By taking a progress test, you:
- Discover the level of your theoretical knowledge.
- Gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn which aspects you have to work on.
- Can make an accurate diagnosis of your study success.
How will I be tested?
Often, you are given a digital questionnaire containing multiple-choice questions about the entire knowledge base or particular predefined sections of it.
The PT is administered in two ways:
1. The PT as a knowledge test
The PT can be administered as an interim knowledge test encompassing the programme's entire knowledge base. The required percentage of correct answers for each PT is determined for each study phase. This means that in the propaedeutic year, you only have to command a limited proportion of the knowledge and therefore a lower percentage is required for a pass. Based on the results, a record is made of how much knowledge you already possess and what you still have to learn.
The test is usually conducted several times per academic year. Each subsequent time you take a PT, you must give a higher percentage of correct answers than you gave in the previous PT.
2. The PT as a diagnostic/self-diagnostic test
The PT can also provide information focusing on further study planning: For what subjects and what content do I need to improve my knowledge? What are my strong and weak points regarding my command of the programme's knowledge base? How does my knowledge compare with the required level of knowledge and with the levels of my fellow students?
Information for the lecturer: Provides insight into progress with regard to students' development of the knowledge base, with a focus on further educational planning.
Information for the lecturer: To what degree does the student command the knowledge that he/she requires at this point in his/her degree programme? The lecturer can also adjust the education provided if the PT reveals that the majority of students do not yet have sufficient command of the required knowledge.
How will I be assessed?
The standards for PTs are set in advance by the Examination Board. For each cohort, the pass mark can vary (relative pass mark).
For the knowledge test PT: The percentage of correct answers required for a passing mark is determined per academic year (or term): in the first year, 10 questions must be answered correctly, in the second year 50%, and in the 4th year 95%.
What feedback will I receive?
A mark (also in comparison to your previous results) and preferably a concise explanation of why the answers are correct/incorrect. In the case of incorrect answers, references can be given to relevant literature or modules for you to consult.
If study advice is linked to the result, then you will have the opportunity to discuss this with a lecturer or tutor.
How do I prepare for the test?
It is important that you and the lecturers are fully informed of the whats, the whys and the value of the PT in advance. You must also be aware of the PT's influence on the exit level and on summative assessments
You must have an up-to-date overview of the body of knowledge that you are required to command within the scope of the programme (course catalogue).
- By independently studying the compulsory literature.
- By discussing any questions about the content with fellow students and the lecturer.
- By knowing the desired knowledge base of the programme.
- Optional: By taking supplementary lectures or courses.
- By completing a diagnostic progress test via the intranet or on paper.
How can I achieve the highest score possible?
- Make sure you keep your knowledge up-to-date.
- Create a strict yet achievable long-term schedule that is compatible with the curriculum.
- Take practice tests.
- Discuss the subject matter with fellow students.
Some programmes offer the opportunity to practise progress tests at home by means of diagnostic tests and example tests. This helps you gain insight into the level that is expected of you, gives you an idea of what kind of questions will be asked and allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your own time so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.
As progress tests address the entire body of knowledge and you are required to score a higher mark each time, it is vital that you draw up a solid long-term plan. When doing so, pay attention to the following:
- What literature is used in your specific degree programme.
- What literature you require in order to understand other literature.
- Other students' schedules (so you can work together if desired).