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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Katherine S. Monroe, Emory University, School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Email: katie.monroe@emory.edu

This study was conducted at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.



  • Self-directed learning
  • assessment
  • evaluation

The relationship between assessment methods and self-directed learning readiness in medical education


Journal Title:

International Journal of Medical Education


Volume 7


, Pages 75-80

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objectives This research explored the assessment of self-directed learning readiness within the comprehensive evaluation of medical students’ knowledge and skills and the extent to which several variables predicted participants’ self-directed learning readiness prior to their graduation. Methods Five metrics for evaluating medical students were considered in a multiple regression analysis. Fourth-year medical students at a competitive US medical school received an informed consent and an online survey. Participants voluntarily completed a self-directed learning readiness scale that assessed four subsets of self-directed learning readiness and consented to the release of their academic records. Results The assortment of metrics considered in this study only vaguely captured students’ self-directedness. The strongest predictors were faculty evaluations of students’ performance on clerkship rotations. Specific clerkship grades were mildly predictive of three subscales. The Pediatrics clerkship modestly predicted critical self-evaluation (r=-.30, p=.01) and the Psychiatry clerkship mildly predicted learning self-efficacy (r =-.30, p=.01), while the Junior Surgery clerkship nominally correlated with participants’ effective organization for learning (r=.21, p=.05). Other metrics examined did not contribute to predicting participants’ readiness for self-directed learning. Conclusions Given individual differences among participants for the variables considered, no combination of students’ grades and/or test scores overwhelmingly predicted their aptitude for self-directed learning. Considering the importance of fostering medical students’ self-directed learning skills, schools need a reliable and pragmatic approach to measure them. This data analysis, however, offered no clear-cut way of documenting students’ self-directed learning readiness based on the evaluation metrics included.

Copyright information:

© 2016 Katherine S. Monroe

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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