Background: Research suggests that workplace-based assessment (WBA) tools using entrustment anchors provide more reliable assessments than those using traditional anchors. There is a lack of evidence describing how and why entrustment anchors work.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to better understand the experience of residents and faculty with respect to traditional and entrustment anchors.
Methods: We used constructivist grounded theory to guide data collection and analysis (March-December 2017) and semistructured interviews to gather reflections on anchors. Phase 1 involved residents and faculty (n = 12) who had only used assessment tools with traditional anchors. Phase 2 involved participants who had used tools with entrustment anchors (n = 10). Data were analyzed iteratively.
Results: Participants expressed that the pragmatic language of entrustment anchors made WBA (1) concrete and justifiable; (2) transparent as they explicitly link clinical assessment and learning progress; and (3) align with training outcomes, enabling better feedback. Participants with no prior experience using entrustment anchors outlined contextual concerns regarding their use. Participants with experience described how they addressed these concerns. Participants expressed that entrustment anchors leave a gap in assessment information because they do not provide normative data.
Conclusions: Insights from this analysis contribute to a theoretical framework of benefits and challenges related to the adoption of entrustment anchors. This richer understanding of faculty and resident perspectives of entrustment anchors may assist WBA developers in creating more acceptable tools and inform the necessary faculty development initiatives that must accompany the use of these new WBA tools. .