Assessment in the post-psychometric era: learning to love the subjective and collective

Med Teach. 2013 Jul;35(7):564-8. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.789134. Epub 2013 Apr 30.


Since the 1970s, assessment of competence in the health professions has been dominated by a discourse of psychometrics that emphasizes the conversion of human behaviors to numbers and prioritizes high-stakes, point-in-time sampling, and standardization. There are many advantages to this approach, including increased fairness to test takers; however, some limitations of overemphasis on this paradigm are evident. Further, two shifts are underway that have significant consequences for assessment. First, as clinical practice becomes more interprofessional and team-based, the locus of competence is shifting from individuals to teams. Second, expensive, high-stakes final examinations are not well suited for longitudinal assessment in workplaces. The result is a need to consider assessment methods that are subjective and collective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics*
  • Reproducibility of Results