Macquarie University
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Physiotherapy Student Perceptions of the Feasibility, Acceptability and Appropriateness of Continuous Adaptive Assessment

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posted on 2023-09-11, 04:40 authored by Rebecca Bevan

Assessment within higher education is a key driver of what students learn so has the potential to drive deep and sustained learning and develop lifelong learning skills in students. Deep learning and development of lifelong learning skills is a high assessment related priority of many universities as it aligns graduate outcomes with the expectations of modern employers. This thesis explores the ability of continuous assessments and adaptive assessments to enhance depth of learning across the higher education sector. It identifies an opportunity to combine continuous and adaptive assessments to form an innovative continuous adaptive assessment (CAA) and embed this within a physiotherapy education program. CAA is a learning orientated approach to assessment scaffolded to students’ current level of achievement, increasing in difficulty as standards are attained and allowing multiple attempts over a specified time with integrated actionable feedback. A mixed methods approach using survey, semi-structured interviews, and performance and engagement data downloaded from a Learning Management System was used to evaluate student perceptions of feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of CAA within an academic physiotherapy unit of study. Overall, CAA was perceived by students to be feasible, acceptable, and appropriate. Most students (83%) perceived CAA to be beneficial for learning, identifying multiple attempts, integrated feedback, and regular engagement with unit content to be the primary contributors to this benefit. The majority of students (70%) perceived CAA to positively impact their learning more than a traditional quiz. Student perceptions of workload, pressure and scaffolding were more divided. The exploratory study within the thesis evaluating the operationalisation of CAA within a physiotherapy unit of study identifies CAA can be utilised as an innovative assessment with potential to facilitate deep learning of content through sustained engagement and repeated opportunities for students to practice retrieval of information. The research identifies a need for further studies to evaluate the impact of CAA on student learning and performance within the immediate learning session and beyond.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Using Assessment to Facilitate Deeper Learning in Higher Education -- Chapter 2. Assessment within Physiotherapy Education Programs -- Chapter 3. Embedding CAA within Macquarie University DPT -- Chapter 4. Manuscript: Physiotherapy student perceptions of the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of continuous adaptive assessment -- Chapter 5. Discussion and Conclusion -- References -- List of Tables -- List of Figures -- Appendices

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Department of Health Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Taryn Jones

Additional Supervisor 1

Verity Pacey


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155 pages

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