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Making sense of assessment in medical ethics and law
  1. Al Dowie
  1. Correspondence to Dr Al Dowie, School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, House 1, 1 Horselethill Road, Glasgow G12 9LX, UK; Al.Dowie{at}glasgow.ac.uk

Abstract

Are curricula in medical ethics and law effective in producing ethical doctors? Assessment is central to this question, both in setting the standards that students are expected to meet and in establishing the extent to which learning correlates with these. Medical ethics and law: a practical guide to the assessment of the core content of learning from the Education Steering Group of the Institute of Medical Ethics is an excellent guide for educators in approaching this curriculum task. If the teaching moment is temporally antecedent to assessment, it is not logically prior to assessment decisions as if these were simply retrospective, and we cannot speak meaningfully of assessment without also speaking of intended learning. The IME assessment guide places emphasis on the alignment of learning, teaching and assessment in curriculum design; on specifying in advance the learning opportunities available to students; on delivering these via appropriate forms of learning; and on matching suitable methods for testing this learning in both summative and formative modes.

Variety in assessment is essential across the cognitive, the affective and the psychomotor domains of learning, and the IME assessment guide provides illustrative examples of, and templates for, types of assessment that are relevant to these. The practical advice offered is as applicable in schools of nursing and in dental schools as it is in medical education.

  • Education
  • Education for Health Care Professionals

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