Background: Team-based learning (TBL) is increasingly being utilized across medical fields by engaging students in small group discussions. The readiness assurance test (RAT) is an essential feature that differentiates TBL from problem-based learning (PBL) activity sequences. No publication has discussed differences in the RAT in TBL in medical schools. The purpose of this meta-analysis study was to examine the performance of learners in terms of group RAT (GRAT) and individual RAT (IRAT) scores in TBL for students of healthcare professions. Methods: Databases, including PubMed and Cochrane were searched using several terms. We assessed the quality of included studies and conducted a meta-analysis. Results: In total, 11 studies with 1575 participants were identified. Quality assessment scores of these studies ranged 4 ~ 7. Mean GRAT scores were significantly higher than mean IRAT scores (standardized mean difference (SMD) = 2.027, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.657 ~ 2.486, p heterogeneity < 0.001). Although the test of subgroup differences was insignificant (p = 0.113), the nursing-only subgroup showed much better performance in the GRAT than the IRAT (SMD = 2.3CI: 95% CI = 2.0 ~ 2.6, I 2 = 48.77%) compared to the others subgroup which included students from different majors. The subgroup analysis explained the heterogeneity in the overall analysis. Because of inadequate information from these 11 studies, a meta-regression could not explore the source of heterogeneity in terms of the mean age, duration of the intervention, preparation time before the RAT, and previous TBL experienced by students. Conclusions: Students achieved significantly higher scores for the GRAT than for the IRAT, especially the group which only included nursing students, which implies excellent collaboration in the group of nursing students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number223
Pages (from-to)223
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 2020


  • Education in healthcare professions
  • Medical education
  • Meta-analysis
  • Readiness assurance test
  • Team-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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