Illusions of specificity in power-laden clinical performance assessment.
Keywordsclinical performance assessment
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The practice of observation-based assessment is synonymous with clinical performance assessment methods employed on many academic programmes which lead to health professional qualifications. Typically health professional students undertake apprenticeship-type practice placements during which time they are assessed by a supervising clinical educator, i.e. a clinician who has undertaken the facilitation and assessment of a student’s clinical performance while continuing with their primary service role. Clinical performance is determined through the achievement of learning outcomes identified on clinical performance assessment tools, or through tick-box or global rating scales in which students’ observed performance is matched against pre-set learning outcomes. These high-stakes assessments yield grades that are critical to students’ progression and entry into their chosen profession.