Background: Progress testing is a longitudinal assessment that aims at tracking students' development of knowledge. This approach is used in many medical schools internationally. Although progress tests are longitudinal in nature, and their focus and use of developmental aspects is a key advantage, individual students’ learning trajectories themselves play, to date, only a minor role in the use of the information obtained through progress testing.
Methods: We investigate in how far between-person differences in initial levels of performance and within-person rate of growth can be regarded as distinct components of students’ development and analyze the extent to which these two components are related to performances on national licensing examinations using a latent growth curve model.
Results: Both, higher initial levels of performances and steepness of growth are positively related to long-term outcomes as measured by performance on national licensing examinations. We interpret these findings as evidence for progress tests’ suitability to monitor students’ growth of knowledge across the course of medical training.
Conclusions: This study indicates that individual development as obtained by formative progress tests is related to performance in high-stakes assessments. Future studies may put more focus on the use of between-persons differences in growth of knowledge.