In response to dissatisfaction with testing cultures in higher education, programmatic assessment has been introduced as an alternative approach. Programmatic ssessment involves the longitudinal collection of data points about student learning, aimed at continuous monitoring and feedback. High-stakes decisions are based on a multitude of data points, involving aggregation, saturation and group-decision making. Evidence about the value of programmatic assessment is emerging in health sciences education. However, research also shows that students find it difficult to take an active role in the assessment process and seek feedback. Lower performing students are underrepresented in research on programmatic assessment, which until now mainly focuses on health sciences education. This study therefore explored low and high performing students’ experiences with learning and decision-making in programmatic assessment in relation to their feedback-seeking behaviour in a
Communication Sciences program. In total, 55 students filled out a questionnaire about their perceptions of programmatic assessment, their feedback-seeking behaviour and learning performance. Low-performing and high-performing students were selected and interviewed. Several designable elements of programmatic assessment were distinguished that promote or hinder students’ feedback-seeking behaviour, learning and uptake of feedback.