Developing higher order thinking in final year nursing students


When did you first introduce the innovation?

More than 24 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

The goal of this innovation was to find an efficient way to assess higher order thinking skills of third year students on emergency and acute care modules.

The teaching team developed case scenarios, which students had to accurately analyse and interpret in order to be able to answer correctly.

The innovation used MCQs, delivered using automated software (Question Mark Perception; QMP) as the vehicle by which students undertook the assessment. This assessment modality demonstrated that with careful and informed design it was possible to robustly assess higher-order skills aligned to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Before the assessment was first run, students were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with QMP via a ‘fun quiz’. This developed the student assessment literacy as well as enhancing their exam confidence through the familiarisation of the assessment vehicle.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

This innovation was prompted by the need to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills in students whilst managing staff and teaching efficiencies.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

The wide range of clinical scenarios assessed by MCQs are a good way to enhance recall, information processing and data interpretation. These are essential for developing critical thinking skills.

It is often assumed that MCQs are only suitable for the assessment of recall.

The use of multiple clinical scenarios supported the development of student confidence and utilised a simple technology to make a large difference. It permitted the lecturer to assess students on varied clinical situations and stimulated students to prepare for a wide range of clinical conditions.

This innovation enhanced the students’ preparation for professional practice.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

This innovation used the VLE and online MCQ software.

It built on case studies already created.

To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?

The students’ evaluated positively this approach and considered it as motivator for their learning.

It has been selected as an assessment strategy for the new nursing curriculum and will impact on all future students.

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

The overall pass rate of this module increased to 85% in all assessments with a pass rate of more than 90% for the QMP exam alone.

Healthcare professionals have reported that students are better practitioners as a result of this process.

This process saved time for the academic as it replaces the need to produce and mark paper exams.

Students received feedback immediately.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

This has been published as a case study by Anglia Ruskin’s Learning and Teaching unit.

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

Case study for the Faculty Learning & Teaching website.

NB This case study has been adapted, with permission, from a publication produced by Anglia Learning & Teaching.