'Assessment is on the agenda because change is on the agenda; because there is growing pressure in many countries for the education system to do more and different things; because it is felt that assessment is the key to achieving these changes.'
Broadfoot P. Editorial: Assessment in education 1994;1:3–10.
Many of the changes in curriculum design discussed in previous sections have meant that consideration has also had to be given to the most appropriate means of assessment. The move to outcome-based education, for example, means that assessment methods appropriate to the outcome must be developed. For example, how can we reliably assess professionalism?
Concern has been raised with the use of traditional methods of assessment that curriculum content is all too often not reflected in the examination content. More emphasis is now being placed on assessment outcomes and competence-based assessment rather than using assessment to draw comparisons between students.
There is now also a view that assessment should be seen in broader terms. For example, assessment should encourage learning. It should motivate both teachers and students and, in doing so, act as a vehicle for improvements in teaching and in course content.
New approaches to assessment include:
- performance-based assessment
The newer method of work-based assessments (CBDs, mini-CEX, OSATS) are designed to reflect this. In combination with other methods such as TO1s, reflections and traditional exams (MRCOG parts 1–3), most outcomes of the RCOG curriculum can be assessed.
In 2019 the RCOG launched a new curriculum. While the detail of the clinical content remains unchanged, it will be presented in a different way with a much stronger focus on non-technical skills, patient safety and the patient experience.
Assessment is covered in more detail in the RCOG eLearning Core knowledge tutorial on Assessment.