Assessing Formative Assessment: Nursing Students’ Perceived Use and the Relation with Their Needs and Motivation
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Formative assessment has been recognized as an effective way to facilitate nursing students’ learning. It enhances autonomous motivation and contributes to the fulfilment of basic psychological needs. The self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) endorses this relation and states that fulfilment of basic psychological needs facilitates autonomous motivation. This study aims to explore the mediating role of basic psychological needs in the relation between formative assessment strategies and motivation within the context of nursing education. For this purpose, a qualitative study based on questionnaires was conducted in a sample of 118 first-year nursing students. The questionnaires concerned the perceived use of formative assessment strategies, autonomous and controlled motivation (SRQ-a) and basic psychological needs (BPNSFS). Regression analyses were used to investigate the mutual relations between the constructs and the mediation model. Results showed both autonomous and controlled motivation were predicted by the perceived use of formative assessment strategies. Learning tasks negatively predicted autonomous motivation and selfassessment positively predicted controlled motivation. The basic psychological need for autonomy was predicted by the perceived use of formative assessment strategies, of which both success criteria and teacher feedback yielded significant positive results. The basic psychological need for autonomy was negatively related to 22 autonomous motivation. The proposed mediation model was not confirmed. Results suggest nursing students’ perception of both the learning activities and the teacher, as well as the proficiency with which teachers deploys the formative assessment strategies, determine the extent to which formative assessment strategies support nursing students’ fulfilment of basic psychological needs and motivation.