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Assessment and Evaluation in Nursing Education: Mixed Methods

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Design of a course takes planning, organization, and thought on goals for the teaching and learning experience with expected outcomes. Integration of pertinent educational framework and philosophy supports the foundation for successful teaching-learning experiences. For learning and understanding to be evaluated, the use of multiple assessment and evaluative methods is key. Using a variety of evaluative methods such as verbal discussion, oral questioning, teach-back, and role-playing to provide both formative and summative feedback can foster learner-centered experiences that meet diverse learning needs.

Nurse educators must take great care in providing assessment and evaluative feedback that is without bias and without score inflation. Scoring rubrics act as guides for the assessment of performance. Evaluation of learning can be reviewed objectively by utilizing an analytic scoring rubric. The scoring rubric criteria should align with the expected outcomes. While we feel there is much merit in using a scoring rubric to foster consistency and minimize grading bias or inflation, we feel that it should only be part of the assessment and evaluation of learning. In order for the educational experience to be student-centered, the students themselves should also play an active role in their own assessment and evaluation. Learning can be assessed and evaluated while it is being actively and authentically developed through the integration of role-playing and the addition of the teach-back method.


As adult learners typically prefer to be actively involved in the learning process, the teach-back method is one that could promote success. The teach-back method can be incorporated to evaluate the cognitive domain of learning and development of outcomes, in addition to supporting nursing understanding of the benefits the teach-back method can lend to patient care, as it can be used to educate patients as well. A scoring rubric can be used to provide summative feedback; however, formative feedback via verbal discussion and oral questioning can also take place along the way.


Another helpful teaching and evaluative technique, role-playing, can be beneficial for adult learners. Utilizing the authentic method of role-playing fosters collaboration and effective communication skills. Role-playing encourages creativity and can be used to display effective communication techniques, along with other clinical based learning scenarios to tie content learned in the classroom with that learned through the hospital. The nursing students can respond to pre-constructed scenarios while receiving constructive formative and subsequently summative feedback to support the development of new insights. Role-playing can be used to assess and evaluate the cognitive learning domain by use of an analytic scoring rubric and verbal discussion.


Nursing faculty need to build a curriculum that embraces educational transformation. Nursing curriculum and the evolving role of the educator should be used to promote nursing educational experiences that lead to meeting the changing needs of the future nursing workforce.