The impact of sustainable assessment methods on first-year nursing students’ self-directed learning

Thuliswa Mabaso, Charlene Downing, Irene J. Kearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nursing students are expected to be effective self-directed learners beyond graduation. However, traditional assessment methods are teacher-centred, giving the teacher control over every aspect and rendering the students passive recipients during the process. Conversely, sustainable assessment methods have long-term benefits to learning that go beyond graduation as it is centered on meeting current learning needs while cultivating students’ ability to meet their own future needs. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate and understand how sustainable assessment methods influence nursing students’ SDL abilities. Design: A mixed-methods design, using a sequential explanatory strategy was used. A quantitative quasi-experimental design was the core method, followed by a supplementary exploratory, descriptive and contextual qualitative method. Results: The quantitative one-group pretest–posttest quasi-experimental method showed that first-year nursing students’ baseline SDL abilities were at a moderate level, and there was an improvement in the learners’ self-reported SDL abilities after they participated in sustainable assessment methods. The focus group interview was conducted to explore and describe nursing students’ experiences and perception of how sustainable assessment methods influenced their SDL in the qualitative follow-up phase. Conclusion: The findings of this study show that sustainable assessment methods can improve first-year nursing student's Self-directed learning abilities. It is recommended that sustainable assessment methods should be integrated in all modules across the four-year programme. This will enable nursing students to better understand the process of assessment, thereby reducing their anxiety associated with assessment, and further motivating students to be self-directed learners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100539
JournalInternational Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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