Criteria for good assessment: consensus statement and recommendations from the Ottawa 2010 Conference

Med Teach. 2011;33(3):206-14. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.551559.


In this article, we outline criteria for good assessment that include: (1) validity or coherence, (2) reproducibility or consistency, (3) equivalence, (4) feasibility, (5) educational effect, (6) catalytic effect, and (7) acceptability. Many of the criteria have been described before and we continue to support their importance here. However, we place particular emphasis on the catalytic effect of the assessment, which is whether the assessment provides results and feedback in a fashion that creates, enhances, and supports education. These criteria do not apply equally well to all situations. Consequently, we discuss how the purpose of the test (summative versus formative) and the perspectives of stakeholders (examinees, patients, teachers-educational institutions, healthcare system, and regulators) influence the importance of the criteria. Finally, we offer a series of practice points as well as next steps that should be taken with the criteria. Specifically, we recommend that the criteria be expanded or modified to take account of: (1) the perspectives of patients and the public, (2) the intimate relationship between assessment, feedback, and continued learning, (3) systems of assessment, and (4) accreditation systems.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Consensus Development Conferences as Topic
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Patients
  • Teaching