The effectiveness of self-assessment on the identification of learner needs, learner activity, and impact on clinical practice

beme.jpg   This new BEME Guide was just published in Medical Teacher:

Colthart I, Bagnall G, Evans A, Allbutt H, Haig A, Illing J, McKinstry B.  The effectiveness of self-assessment on the identification of learner needs, learner activity, and impact on clinical practice: BEME Guide no. 10. Med Teach 2008 Mar;30(2):124-45. [subscription required]
Read the full abstract       View the full issue

Background: Health professionals are increasingly expected to identify their own learning needs through a process of ongoing self-assessment. Self-assessment is integral to many appraisal systems and has been espoused as an important aspect of personal professional behaviour by several regulatory bodies and those developing learning outcomes for clinical students. In this review we considered the evidence base on self-assessment since Gordon’s comprehensive review in 1991. The overall aim of the present review was to determine whether specific methods of self-assessment lead to change in learning behaviour or clinical practice. Specific objectives sought evidence for effectiveness of self-assessment interventions to:
a. improve perception of learning needs;
b. promote change in learning activity;
c. improve clinical practice;
d. improve patient outcomes.

Practice points:
*There is no solid evidence base within the health professions’ literature which establishes the effectiveness of self-assessment in: identifying learner needs; influencing learning activity; changing clinical practice.
*The accuracy of self-assessment in clinical training may be improved by increasing the learner’s awareness of the standard to be achieved.
*There is some indication that practical skills in clinical training may be better self-assessed than knowledge-based activities.
*Self-assessment needs to be used as one tool amongst other sources of feedback to provide a more complete appraisal of competence in health care practice.
*Future research should address the role that self-assessment plays in the everyday practice of health care decision-making.

See also   BEME Guides in Medical Education: the series

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