Assessing students' research reports: development of a rating scale

Debbie A. D. C. Jaarsma, Wouter J. Kranenbarg, Diana H. J. M. Dolmans, Arno M. M. Muijtjens, Albert J. J. A. Scherpbier, Peter van Beukelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is a lack of explicit criteria for the assessment of students' research reports. Teachers tend to use their own, idiosyncratic sets of implicit criteria. A well-defined set of criteria could foster reliable and valid assessment of students' research reports. The aim of this study was twofold: to detect the strengths and weaknesses of students' research reports and to develop an assessment tool for students' research papers. On the basis of the literature and advice from experts, we developed a list of 19 criteria, comprising 15 specific items and 4 global items. Three raters, using the list, independently scored a sample of 18 research reports. The strengths of the reports were the structure of the results and the description of materials and methods. The weaknesses were the research questions, the grounding of the study in the research literature, the analysis, the statistics, and the clarity of visuals. With three raters, the reliability of the rating scale was reasonable. The rating scale seems to be a useful tool for judging and giving feedback on students' research reports. These findings will have to be confirmed in studies with larger samples
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-165
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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