Qualitative and quantitative feedback in the context of competency-based education

Med Teach. 2017 Dec;39(12):1245-1249. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2017.1372564. Epub 2017 Sep 19.


Research indicates the importance and usefulness of feedback, yet with the shift of medical curricula toward competencies, feedback is not well understood in this context. This paper attempts to identify how feedback fits within a competency-based curriculum. After careful consideration of the literature, the following conclusions are drawn: (1) Because feedback is predicated on assessment, the assessment should be designed to optimize and prevent inaccuracies in feedback; (2) Giving qualitative feedback in the form of a conversation would lend credibility to the feedback, address emotional obstacles and create a context in which feedback is comfortable; (3) Quantitative feedback in the form of individualized data could fulfill the demand for more feedback, help students devise strategies on how to improve, allow students to compare themselves to their peers, recognizing that big data have limitations; and (4) Faculty development needs to incorporate and promote cultural and systems changes with regard to feedback. A better understanding of the role of feedback in competency-based education could result in more efficient learning for students.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Competency-Based Education / methods*
  • Competency-Based Education / standards*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Emotions
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration
  • Formative Feedback*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture
  • Staff Development / organization & administration