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Teach Learn Med. 2020 Mar 4:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2020.1729162. [Epub ahead of print]

Educational Impact Drives Feasibility of Implementing Daily Assessment in the Workplace.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Centre for Health Education Scholarship, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Northern Medical Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada.


Construct: Authors investigated the perspectives of stakeholders on feasibility elements of workplace-based assessments (WBA) with varying designs. Background: In the transition to competency-based medical education, WBA are taking a more prominent role in assessment programs. However, the increased demand for WBA leads to new challenges for implementing suitable WBA tools with published validity evidence, while also being feasible and useful in practice. Despite the availability of published WBA tools, implementation does not necessarily occur; a more fulsome understanding of the perspectives of stakeholders who are ultimately the end-users of these tools, as well as the system factors that both deter or support their use, could help to explain why evidence-based assessment tools may not be incorporated into residency programs. Approach: We examined the perspectives of two groups of stakeholders, surgical teachers and resident learners, during an assessment intervention that varied the assessment tools while keeping the assessment process constant. We chose diverse exemplars from published assessment tools that each represented a different response format: global rating scales, step-by-step surgical rubrics, and an entrustability scale. The primary purpose was to investigate how stakeholders are impacted by WBA tools with varying response formats to better understand their feasibility for assessment of cataract surgery. Secondarily, we were able to explore the culture of assessment in cataract surgery education including stakeholders' perceptions of WBA unrelated to assessment form design. Semi-structured interviews with teachers and a focus group with the residents enabled discussion of their perspectives on dimensions of the tools such as acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, adaptation, and integration. Findings: Three themes summarize teachers' and residents' experiences with the assessment tools: (1) Feedback is the priority; (2) Forms informing coaching; and (3) Forcing the conversation. The tools helped to facilitate the feedback conversation by serving as a reminder to initiate the conversation, a framework to structure the conversation, and a memory aid for providing detailed feedback. Surgical teachers preferred the assessment tool with a design that best aligned with their approach to teaching and how they wanted to provide feedback. Orientation to the tools, combined with established remediation pathways, may help preceptors to better use assessment tools and improve their ability to give critical feedback. Conclusions: Feedback, more so than assessment, dominated the comments provided by both teachers and residents after using the various WBA tools. Our typical assessment design efforts focus on the creation or selection of a robust assessment tool according to good design and measurement principles, but the current findings would encourage us to also prioritize the coaching relationship and include efforts to design WBA tools to function as a mediator to augment teaching, learning, and feedback exchange within that relationship in the workplace.


Workplace based assessment; cataract surgery; competency based medical education; post-graduate medical education

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