Debriefing as formative assessment: closing performance gaps in medical education

Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Nov;15(11):1010-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00248.x. Epub 2008 Oct 20.


The authors present a four-step model of debriefing as formative assessment that blends evidence and theory from education research, the social and cognitive sciences, experience drawn from conducting over 3,000 debriefings, and teaching debriefing to approximately 1,000 clinicians worldwide. The steps are to: 1) note salient performance gaps related to predetermined objectives, 2) provide feedback describing the gap, 3) investigate the basis for the gap by exploring the frames and emotions contributing to the current performance level, and 4) help close the performance gap through discussion or targeted instruction about principles and skills relevant to performance. The authors propose that the model, designed for postsimulation debriefings, can also be applied to bedside teaching in the emergency department (ED) and other clinical settings.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Decision Making
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Emergency Medicine / education
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Models, Educational
  • Professional Competence
  • Psychology, Social