Assessment strategies in gastroenterology by Neel Sharma

All doctors regardless of specialty are assessed regularly – after all assessment drives learning. From a UK standpoint assessment comprises the MRCP (UK) examinations and SCE. During GI training there is the JAG accreditation of simple and more advanced endoscopic intervention as well as portfolio based records.

In the field of medical education there are currently talks concerning the lack of potential value in a high stakes examination. In essence the current argument is that such a form of assessment can potentially limit a supervisor’s judgement if the candidate is unsuccessful. In this regard, the concept of programmatic assessment has come to the forefront where in essence a more holistic judgement of a candidate’s performance takes place. In brief continuous forms of learning, assessment and feedback are offered. And all elements of the learning/ assessment process are compiled to provide a fairer judgment of a learner’s abilities.
The next movement that has occurred in the US is that of entrustment or entrustable professional activities. Whilst competency based medical education has been cemented for some time, there have been concerns with the lack of entrustment decisions. Here supervisors would make the added assessment of when a learner can be entrusted to perform a competency unsupervised. The GI curriculum in the US has embedded this approach and it is likely that this phenomenon will snowball globally.

Further reading
Van der Veluten et al. A model for programmatic assessment.

Neel Sharma is currently a gastroenterology trainee in Singapore having worked in a medical education setting across the UK, Asia and the US