Recent trends in medical education are moving rapidly away from gaining a certain number of marks in high-stakes examinations and towards gathering evidence of clinical competence and professional behavior observed in clinical environments.
The aim of this PhD study, The Quality, Value and Effectiveness of Workplace-Based Assessment in Postgraduate Medical Training, is to explore the use of workplace-based assessments in postgraduate medical training.
Workplace-based assessments, such as Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercises (mini-CEX) or Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS), are one method of assessing trainee doctors’ performance. Trainees are expected to negotiate the completion of these assessments with their trainers at regular intervals throughout their training.
Workplace-based assessments are designed to be formative and provide a framework for giving constructive feedback to trainees in real-time clinical settings.
The aim is to help trainees identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they can address problems immediately.
Anecdotal evidence has suggested however, that workplace-based assessments are being used in a summative - as opposed to formative - way, with most assessments being completed towards the end of the training post, leaving little time to make improvements based on the feedback.
Workplace-based assessment (WBA) has been the subject of much debate since its introduction; it remains unclear whether the intended learning value of these tools has been realised. In order to better understand the learning value of WBA and thereby provide an improved learning experience for trainees, we explored three specific research questions:
Our study will contribute to an ongoing international debate regarding the applicability of workplace-based assessments as a meaningful formative assessment approach within the context of postgraduate medical education.
This project is being led by Aileen Barrett, Educational Specialist, RCPI.
If you would like more information about this study, please contact us.
Dr Lucia Prihodova is the Research Manager at the at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Lucia holds a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at University of Groningen, Netherlands and her research focuses on various aspects of health systems related to work environment, workforce training and wellbeing and patient outcomes.