WCM-Q Symposium Teaches Assessment Skills to Boost Learning Outcomes

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  • Published: January 23, 2013
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WCM-Q Symposium Teaches Assessment Skills to Boost Learning Outcomes

Publication Date:
December 20, 2016
Leading Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) scholars presented a series of workshops explaining the most effective new methods for assessing learners in health professional education.

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The three-day symposium at WCM-Q, titled ‘Assessment in Health Professional Education’, was led by Dr Janice Hanson and Dr. Amal Khidir, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; other speakers were Dr. Mai Mahmoud, Assistant Professor of Medicine; and Dr. Ziyad Mahfoud, Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research.

Effective assessment tools are essential learning aids for health professionals who rely on comprehensive feedback from tutors to ensure they have gained the advanced skills and knowledge they need to provide quality care to patients.

Visiting expert Dr. Janice Hanson, Director of Educational Research and Development in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said: “Traditional methods of assessment have often been based upon awarding grades and have tended to provide little or no narrative feedback to learners. This might be effective at communicating whether someone has passed or failed an exercise, but it is extremely ineffective at explaining the reasons why someone passed or failed, what they did right and what they did wrong. Crucially, it does not give enough feedback about what they need to do to improve their performance and meet the learning aims of the exercise."

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In addition to demonstrating how to write high-quality narrative evaluations, the learning activity explained the strengths and weaknesses of several different methods of learner assessment, how to determine the validity of assessment instruments, and how to apply frameworks for evaluation to judgments about learners.

Dr. Khidir said: “It is really rewarding to see the level of engagement of the participants. On a separate note, this activity engaged the students in professional development, too. The organizing committee is thankful to the fourth-year medical students Ali Khairat, Tarek Barbar, Diala Steitieh and Saleha Abbasi, and to our alumnus and now associate professor of emergency medicine, Dr. Grigory Ostrovsky, who participated in the preparation of the videos that generated a lot of reflections and discussions that deepend the understanding of the concepts.”

The symposium, organized as part the WCM-Q Division of Continuing Professional Development’s ‘Educators Across the Health Care Spectrum’ series, used workshops, small and large group discussions, role-play and hands-on activities to allow participants to gain a thorough practical understanding of assessment tools. The event was open to participants from WCM-Q and from other health professions educational institutions in Qatar.

Deema Al-Sheikhly, Director of Continuing Professional Development, said: “Effective assessment is a vital part of any learning experience, but this has traditionally been somewhat overlooked and faculty often feel they require more formal training in this area. This seminar aimed to comprehensively answer that need.”

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