Assessment in medical education

nejm2.gif  This review article and accompanying editorial appear in the January 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Free full text is available.

Epstein RM. Assessment in medical education [review]. N Engl J Med 2007; 356(4):387-396.
Excerpt: This article provides a conceptual framework for and a brief update on commonly used and emerging methods of assessment, discusses the strengths and limitations of each method, and identifies several challenges in the assessment of physicians’ professional competence and performance.

Klass D. Assessing doctors at work — Progress and challenges [editorial]. N Engl J Med 2007; 356(4):414-415.
Excerpt: A fair amount of scrutiny has been given recently to the assessment of medical students’ competence before they enter practice. In this issue of the Journal, Epstein provides a timely summary of advances in this arena. In contrast, little attention has been paid to the assessment of doctors who are already in practice. As Epstein points out, far from being a fixed attribute or trait, competence comprises multidimensional sets of behaviors that are dependent on both environmental and individual factors. As a result, the assessment of competence must go beyond the identification of who practitioners are, on the basis of evidence of their personal attributes or dated credentials, to capture what they actually do in the context of contemporary practice.

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