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Med Educ. 2004 Jul;38(7):767-77.

Educational impact of in-training assessment (ITA) in postgraduate medical education: a qualitative study of an ITA programme in actual practice.

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  • 1Copenhagen Hospital Corporation, Postgraduate Medical Institute, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To investigate the experiences and opinions of programme directors, clinical supervisors and trainees on an in-training assessment (ITA) programme on a broad spectrum of competence for first year training in anaesthesiology. How does the programme work in practice and what are the benefits and barriers? What are the users' experiences and thoughts about its effect on training, teaching and learning? What are their attitudes towards this concept of assessment?


Semistructured interviews were conducted with programme directors, supervisors and trainees from 3 departments. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The content of the interviews was analysed in a consensus process among the authors.


The programme was of benefit in making goals and objectives clear, in structuring training, teaching and learning, and in monitoring progress and managing problem trainees. There was a generally positive attitude towards assessment. Trainees especially appreciated the coupling of theory with practice and, in general, the programme inspired an academic dialogue. Issues of uncertainty regarding standards of performance and conflict with service declined over time and experience with the programme, and departments tended to resolve practical problems through structured planning.


Three interrelated factors appeared to influence the perceived value of assessment in postgraduate education: (1) the link between patient safety and individual practice when assessment is used as a licence to practise without supervision rather than as an end-of-training examination; (2) its benefits to educators and learners as an educational process rather than as merely a method of documenting competence, and (3) the attitude and rigour of assessment practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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