The Future of Workplace-Based Assessments in Medical Education


Medical education is constantly evolving, and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is at the forefront of driving innovative solutions. In a recent collaboration with five prestigious medical schools, NBME aims to revolutionize workplace-based assessments by leveraging data-driven insights and advanced analytics.

Traditionally, workplace-based assessments have been used to evaluate the competencies of medical students in a real-world clinical setting. These assessments involve observing students’ behaviors, documenting their performance, and providing feedback from multiple sources. They play a critical role in preparing future physicians for effective patient care.

Recognizing the importance of meaningful performance feedback, NBME is exploring how they can support medical schools in this endeavor. Christopher Feddock, MD, Vice President of Competency-Based Assessment at NBME, explains, “With NBME’s expertise in medical education assessment and data analysis, we are exploring how our capabilities can enhance the provision of performance feedback to medical students.”

One of the pressing needs in workplace-based assessments is the synthesis of numerical measures and written feedback comments. By establishing centralized support for data storage, aggregation, and analysis, medical educators and students can gain greater insights into learners’ strengths and improvement opportunities. This not only benefits individual students but also allows educators to assess the performance of their programs more confidently.

To put this solution into action, NBME will be collaborating with the following five medical schools: the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

John V. Moore, EdD, Director of Assessment Data Initiatives at NBME, expresses enthusiasm for this partnership, saying, “NBME’s strengths in data infrastructure and reporting, coupled with the wisdom and experiences from these schools, have great potential to improve clinical assessment data.”

As NBME remains committed to advancing medical education assessment, they are excited to collaborate with these medical schools on inventive approaches to workplace-based assessment. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights and cutting-edge analytics, the future of medical education assessment is set to be more efficient and impactful than ever before.

In addition to the points mentioned in the article, there are several current market trends related to workplace-based assessments in medical education. One trend is the increasing use of technology and digital platforms to facilitate the assessment process. This includes the use of electronic portfolios, online assessment tools, and video-based assessments, which allow for more flexibility and ease of evaluation.

Another trend is the shift towards competency-based assessments. Traditional assessments often focused on knowledge retention, but there is now a growing emphasis on evaluating the practical skills and competencies of medical students. Competency-based assessments assess a student’s ability to apply their knowledge in real-world situations, which better prepares them for their future medical careers.

Forecasts indicate that workplace-based assessments will continue to evolve and become more integrated into medical education curricula. This includes incorporating assessments into everyday clinical practice, rather than separate evaluation processes. By seamlessly integrating assessment into the workplace, students can receive real-time feedback and achieve a more comprehensive understanding of their progress.

One key challenge associated with workplace-based assessments is the standardization of evaluation criteria. Due to the subjective nature of assessments, there can be inconsistencies in how different evaluators assess the same student. Developing standardized evaluation criteria and assessment tools can help address this challenge and ensure fairness and consistency in the assessment process.

Another challenge is the potential bias in assessments. Unconscious biases can influence evaluators’ perceptions and judgments, leading to unfair assessments. Medical schools and assessment organizations need to implement training programs and mechanisms to mitigate bias and ensure that assessments are unbiased and objective.

Advantages of workplace-based assessments include the opportunity for students to receive feedback from multiple sources, allowing for a more comprehensive evaluation of their performance. These assessments also provide a more realistic and authentic evaluation of students’ abilities, as they are conducted in real-world clinical settings. Additionally, workplace-based assessments can help identify areas of improvement and provide targeted interventions to support students’ learning and development.

However, there are also disadvantages to consider. Workplace-based assessments can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, requiring significant effort from both students and assessors. There can also be challenges in coordinating assessments across different clinical settings and ensuring consistency in evaluation standards.

To learn more about the future of workplace-based assessments in medical education and related topics, you can visit the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) website. Check out their page on competency-based assessment at link. Additionally, you can explore the websites of the collaborating medical schools mentioned in the article:
– University of Kansas School of Medicine: link
– University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School: link
– University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry: link
– Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine: link
– Indiana University School of Medicine: link