Comprehensive assessment of professional competence: the Rochester experiment

Teach Learn Med. 2004 Spring;16(2):186-96. doi: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1602_12.


Background: A required 2-week comprehensive assessment (CA) for 2nd-year medical students that integrates basic science, clinical skills, information management, and professionalism was implemented.

Description: The CA links standardized patients (SPs) with computer-based exercises, a teamwork exercise, and peer assessments; and culminates in student-generated learning plans.

Evaluation: Scores assigned by SPs showed acceptable interrater reliability. Factor analyses defined meaningful subscales of the peer assessment and communication rating scales. Ratings of communication skills were correlated with information gathering, patient counseling, and peer assessments; these, in turn, were strongly correlated with the written exercises. Students found the CA fair, with some variability in opinion of the peer and written exercises. Useful learning plans and positive curricular changes were undertaken in response to the CA results.

Conclusion: A CA that integrates multiple domains of professional competence is feasible, useful to students, and fosters reflection and change. Preliminary data suggest that this format is reliable and valid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Curriculum*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • New York
  • Patient Simulation
  • Peer Review
  • Schools, Medical / standards*
  • Students, Medical*