Assessment Development


The renewed UBC MD Undergraduate Program (MDUP) is being developed to enable the achievement of key and enabling competencies within the context of delivering patient care in a safe and time efficient manner. The competency-based and spiraled curriculum design is more than just an aggregate of courses. It reflects a deliberate program over four years designed to achieve a graduate with multiple integrated competencies.

Programmatic assessment means that the assessment framework is placed within the entire context of the undergraduate curriculum and scans the breadth of competencies and depth of skill expected of students. The competencies are organized around CanMEDS roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Health Advocate, Manager, Professional, and Scholar.

Competency-based milestones will be mapped to the renewed curriculum design and assessed using a combination of workplace-based assessment, progress tests, course-based MCQ written exams, OSCEs, and portfolios. Miller’s Pyramid of Clinical Competence1 provides a framework for aligning assessment methods with levels of competence in medical education. It is useful for illustrating the strengths of different assessment modalities applied in a deliberate programmatic manner. Click on the assessment modalities to learn more.

Performance integrated into practice.
Assesed by: Portfolio (YR 3/4), WBA
Demonstration of learning and clinical skills
Assessed by: Portfolio, WBA, OSCE
Knows How
Interpretation / Application of knowledge
Assessed by: Portfolio, WBA, OSCE, Written Exams
Knowledge / Fact gathering
Assessed by: Written Exams


Portfolios and progress tests are being introduced as new modalities for the MDUP. OSCEs, Workplace-Based Assessments, and course-based MCQ written examinations are currently used in the MDUP, but will be enhanced and effectively integrated into the overall renewed assessment framework. A balance of each assessment modality will be used across the four years of the MDUP within an assessment framework that ensures learners are developing and meeting the competencies for graduation.


1Based on work by Miller GE, The Assessment of Clinical Skills/Competence/Performance; Acad. Med. 1990