Best practice in assessment vital for high quality learning experience

6 Apr 2017

The AMA Position statement on Best practice in assessment for vocational trainees recognises that high quality trainee assessment and feedback is integral to a high quality learning environment. Stress during and around assessment time can have a profound impact on doctor health and wellbeing for both the trainee and assessor. This position statement provides guidance to trainees, assessors, specialist medical colleges, jurisdictions and other organisations on best practice in assessment for vocational trainees, and will be a trigger for refection and improvement at an individual and system level in this area.

Despite College efforts to improve systems and processes to provide accurate, reliable, and timely assessment of trainees and practicing physicians, the AMA still receives adverse feedback in relation to assessment and evaluation covering issues such as:

  • a lack of certainty of processes and a perception of an increased tendency for doctors in training to pursue costly legal remedies through the courts;
  • trainees who have progressed well into their training program before issues are raised;
  • selection into training programs, supervision during training, access to adequate training and educational opportunities and assessment outcomes; and
  • Colleges having difficulty dealing with concerns raised about trainees.

This position statement addresses several elements that are relevant to best practice in assessment and are common across the literature:

That assessment:

  • Is relevant to clinical practice.
  • Provides feedback on the trainee knowledge, clinical skills, professional qualities, and expertise for safe and competent practice at an appropriate level.
  • Processes are in place to enable the early identification of trainees who are under-performing, and for determining programs of remedial work transparently.

“It is clear that while best practice in giving and receiving feedback is essential to good quality assessment, this is an area that Colleges, supervisors and trainees feel underprepared for and must be an area of focus moving forward” said Dr John Zorbas Chair, AMACDT.

Read AMA Position Statement on Best practice in assessment for vocational trainees – 2017