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Should pre- and post-testing be standardised?

The quality and calibre of the courses organised by the European School of Urology (ESU) are its bedrock. To ensure the excellence these courses are known for, pre- and post-tests were created.

By Prof. Dr. J.M. Nijman
UMC Groningen
Chairman of EU-ACME

Do I think these tests should be standardised? Absolutely. I am a firm believer in this way of education. Read on to understand why.

What are pre- and post-tests?

Pre- and post-tests are tools to gauge the participants’ knowledge. Through these tests, the faculty can also evaluate if their delivery and teaching methods are effective, and which areas need fine-tuning. These tests are also good indicators of the quality of the course materials.

Pre- and post-tests were also created to satisfy the regulatory bodies of the Continuing Medical Education (CME) in several European countries and the Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS). In some countries, it is even mandatory to organise these tests to qualify for CME credits.

During the Annual EAU Congress n Copenhagen, the pre- and post-tests will accompany 10 selected courses. If proven successful, these tests will continue in future congresses and be more prominent with stand-alone ESU Courses scheduled throughout the year. Educational activities are increasing and industry, one of the main providers and promoters, want to see that attendees are really improving their knowledge and it is worthwhile, from the teaching point of view, to invest.


Some ESU courses accompanied by pre- and post-tests


Goal of the pre-test

The pre-tests are designed to prompt the participants to prepare before attending the courses. After participants take the pre-test, their results are used by the faculty as the basis to calibrate the courses and to improve them. And since most courses cover a variety of topics in a compact timeframe, topics will be streamlined by focusing on those that are not as familiar to participants and those that need more emphasis.

Post-test relevance

After the completion of each course, participants will be asked to answer the same questions from the pre-test two to four weeks later. They can even do this at home. Their answers will provide significant insights that can assist the faculty. This feedback can also be used to improve the ESU courses in the following year.

Benefits for participants and the faculty

The pre-test will give participants an overview of specific topics that are important per course. The post-test will provide feedback to participants regarding their performance. Their collective test results will give the faculty an indication which course topics require additional focus and progression, and which topics to skip. The post-course test will also provide feedback on the faculty’s quality of teaching, their methods and delivery.


Previous test participants

Improved through the years

In the initial stages of the tests, questions were asked at the beginning of a course and the same questions were asked at the end of that course. The purpose was to see if the percentage of correctly answered questions would be higher after following a course. It was an immediate way to measure the impact of a course on the knowledge of the participants.


Earlier version of the post-testing

If the pre- and post-tests are proven successful the aim is to include these tests in all courses during Annual EAU Congresses and, eventually, all stand-alone ESU courses. Although this has actually been done in the recent past, the wider aim is for consistent implementation in order to support both faculty and participants.