BMC Medical Education
Peters H, Holzhausen Y, Maaz A, Driessen E, Czeskleba A.
While literature on the theoretical value of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) for assessment is rapidly expanding, little experience exists on its application. The aims of this study are to develop and explore the utility of an EPA-based assessment tool for capturing the workplace performance of final-year medical students based on a full set of end-of-training EPAs.
The tool was developed in a systematic iterative process. Twelve 12 end-of-undergraduate medical training EPAs were nested into 72 smaller EPAs and cross-mapped onto a 6-point supervision level scale, both adjusted to the context of final-year clerkships. One version was created for students' self-assessment of their ability to carry out tasks and their history of carrying out tasks, and another version was created for supervisors' assessment of students' ability to carry out tasks. The tool was administered to final-year clerkship students and their clinical supervisors to explore its utility as an assessment approach. The results were analysed using descriptive and interferential statistics.
We enrolled a total of 60 final-year medical students. For 33 students, ratings were provided from one supervisor and for 27 students from two supervisors. With regard to the reliability and validity of the tool, students' and supervisors' ratings showed an overall good internal consistency as well as variability between and within the EPAs. Over the full EPA range, students rated their ability to perform a task slightly higher than their task performance history and slightly lower than the supervisors' ratings. Students' self-ratings of their ability to perform a task correlated with their history in performing the task. Supervisors' ratings correlated among supervisors and not with students' ratings. Concerning educational outcomes, supervisors' average rating of students' ability to perform the EPAs without direct supervision was 64%, and key findings being double-checked.
This study introduces a tool that is adjusted to the final-year clerkship context and can assess the workplace performance of trainees based on a full set of end-of-training EPAs. Its utility characteristics suggest that the tool may be employed as a formative and outcome-aligned approach to the assessment of final-year students before entering into residency.