The shift from diploma to degree courses in therapy education has meant that more attention is now being given to the evaluation of assessments that are used in therapy education. This paper reports a study that attempts to examine the influence of assessments on student motivation to learn in an undergraduate therapy degree. In March 1997 a questionnaire was distributed to all the third year Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy students at the Southampton University School of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy (98 in total). Using Likert scales and open questions the questionnaire required the students to consider all the assessments they had taken in their three years of study and provide information regarding which type of assessment they found most motivating for their learning and why. Of the 98 questionnaires that were distributed 43 were returned. The data from these questionnaires were used to calculate how many first, second and third rankings each assessment obtained and thus identify what type of assessments students found motivating for their learning. The responses to the Likert scale and open questions were used to identify common reasons why students found an assessment motivating or not. The results reveal that the students responded positively to a wide range of assessments. Whilst a number of factors are identified as influencing assessment preferences, the perceived clinical relevance of an assessment appears to be a key factor in determining students' motivation. Limitations of the study are identified along with implications for future work
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