Pre-test or Pre-Assessment


Term(s) used to define the measures (data from question(s) or data collection) BEFORE educational content is presented. Pre-tests can measure baseline knowledge, competence, present or anticipated behavior, experienced or observed health outcome, or other topics.



Pre-tests can be paper-based or electronic (via online software or applications). Pre-test question structure is often multiple choice, "select all" style, or agreement scales (eg, Likert-like), but a variety of question formats may be used. A Pre-test is typically administered before an activity begins, but Pre-test questions may be interleaved or interwoven throughout a learning experience (as long as they are presented before the content that pertains to the test question).

In certain environments pre-assessment may also include the collection of performance data or data related to patient- or community-level outcomes.



Salkind - Pretest–Posttest Design. 2010

National Board of Medical Examiners Constructing Written Test Questions for the Basic and Clinical Sciences, 2018.



Before starting an online enduring activity, HCPs had to answer six questions.

At the beginning of a large satellite symposium eight questions were asked using ARS.

Two weeks before a regional workshop series data was collected on health outcomes of patients with diagnosis X.


Additional Contextual Information:

  • Pre-tests are designed to make a baseline measurement of HCPs, but also serve to drive an HCP to self-assess and reflect on the content that follows.
  • Results from a Pre-test are typically compared to results from the same questions re-administered immediately following an educational intervention (e.g., Post-test questions). This allows for a more meaningful paired analysis.
  • Note: there are well-established best practices for the construction and deliver of assessment questions, for this reason it is the suggestion of the OSP Steering Team that questions should be developed in accordance with National Board of Medical Examiner guidelines.