Assessment Spotlight: Programmatic Assessment

Assessment has evolved over the past few decades to ensure that we are continually improving on the validity and reliability of assessments and the approaches we apply.

A key part of the Renewed Curriculum is a move towards a programmatic assessment system – one that incorporates various assessment instruments and methods that supports the student and informs the Faculty of their development towards the Exit Competencies.

Competency Domains

This ‘program’ of assessment methods, uses the strengths of each individually, and the interplay between each element to ensure that students are assessed across the competency domains, organized by CanMED roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Health Advocate, Manager, Professional, and Scholar.

CanMED Roles

Miller’s Pyramid of Clinical Competence

A program of assessment needs to be developmentally appropriate reflecting the student’s trajectory recognizing the continuum of medical education from undergraduate to postgraduate and continuing professional development.

Miller’s Pyramid of Clinical Competence provides a framework for aligning assessment methods with progressive levels of competence in medical education. It is useful for illustrating the strengths of different assessment modalities applied in a deliberate programmatic manner.


Miller's Pyramid of Clinical Competence

 Types of Assessments

Through the application of different assessment types in an integrated manner – Written Examinations (including Progress Tests), Portfolio, Workplace-based Assessment, and Objective Structured Clinical Examination, we have the ability to assess students with the appropriate instrument at each level of competency.

This assessment approach leverages the strengths of each modality to build a holistic, valid and reliable picture of student achievement. A program of assessment should aim at building relationships: each competency domain should be informed from various assessment sources and each assessment source should be used to inform about several competency domains.

FOM_VFMP_Vancouver Sun_2006_student with young girl_Martin Dee_02

Moving Forward

Assessments used in the renewed curriculum courses have been carefully selected to support the competency outcomes in the program. As we continue to build the programmatic assessment system, evaluation will be used to continuously improve the functioning and role of assessments independently as well as ‘programmatically’ in producing effective physicians.

Stayed tuned for more in-depth looks at the different assessment types.

Leave a Reply