Assessment is the process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting information to aid decision-making. Assessment results should allow sound inferences about what learners know, believe, and can do in defined contexts. Assessment, therefore, integrates several concepts. In GME evaluation processes, we want our assessment process, methods and tools to be valid, reliable and feasible.
There are several principles that guide the development of an effective assessment process.
- Ensure you will be able to measure performance by designing objectives concretely, using behavioral anchors
- Establish clear criteria that will be consistently be used to evaluate performance outcomes
- Use multiple methods and assessors, across several occasions to ensure fair and reasonably accurate picture of individual performance
- Assess performance according to pre-specified milestones
- Take into account curricular, social and cultural aspects of learning environment
- Some instructional methods are themselves assessment tools (e.g. audit)
It is critical that assessment be conducted professionally and criteria for assessing performance outcomes be consistently applied to all trainees, faculty and others being evaluated. In order to maintain respect for the well-being of those involved and affected by the assessment, making your program expectations explicit is an important component of the process. This means explaining what will be assessed, with what methods and tools, when and in what context the assessment will be conducted.
Finally, collecting and reporting assessment data on resident performance is not enough: programs must provide residents with the opportunity for additional learning in the areas in which they are assessed.