Muller Journal of Medical Sciences and Research

: 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110--111

Resorting to programmatic assessment in medical education system in India

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Resorting to programmatic assessment in medical education system in India.Muller J Med Sci Res 2018;9:110-111

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Resorting to programmatic assessment in medical education system in India. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Jun 1 ];9:110-111
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Over the years, multiple shortcomings have been identified in the assessment process employed under the traditional curriculum in medical education in India.[1] It has been presumed that once a student clears the examinations, they have accomplished mastery in the specific subject, which is not true.[1] In addition, the mere presence of knowledge does not mean that the student can put into practice once the need arises.[1],[2] Furthermore, the decision to pass or fail a student should not be based on the results of a single summative examination.[1]

In order to respond to these existing flaws in the assessment process, the concept of programmatic assessment has been put forth.[1],[2] In fact, it bridges the gaps which have persisted for ages in assessment and has accounted for a negative impact on the curriculum and the learning abilities of students.[2] Moreover, this assessment enables to have a comprehensive and integrated type of assessment, in which different methods are employed to ensure meeting of the set objectives.[3] In order to ensure its successful implementation, there is an immense need to involve the Medical Council of India, curriculum committee members of each of the medical colleges, administrators, management of private colleges, and members of the medical education team.

It is very important to understand that programmatic assessment envisages “assessment for learning” (formative assessment) and not “assessment of learning” (summative assessment).[2],[3] In fact, by adoption of this assessment, the effect of other variables (such as personal, financial, and family) arising during or around the examination can be neutralized totally.[3] Realizing the scope and merits associated with the programmatic assessment, it has been incorporated as one of the four crucial attributes of competency-based medical education.[4]

In this assessment process, the information pertaining to any student progress throughout the academic year is continuously collected, analyzed, and, if required, supplemented with the extra attributes (reports from workplace settings), predominantly with an aim to support both the faculty and the student to take a robust high-stakes decisions at the end of a specific teaching–learning phase.[1],[2],[3] The assessment proposed takes into consideration the outcomes of both formal and informal assessments, and the obtained information is shared with the respective student, so that they can plan about their growth and eventually indulge in self-directed learning (which remains one of the core competencies of an Indian Medical Graduate).[1],[3]

Apart from facilitation of learning, this assessment improves the quality of a high-stakes decision and generates evidence for the quality assurance (viz., overall improvement of the curriculum and the mode of education delivery).[2] There is a provision to opt for different assessment methods in order to align with the curriculum outcomes, and the results obtained from each assessment are considered as individual data points.[2],[3] Thus, the idea is to look assessment tools as a marker for evaluation of learning or for certification of competencies and not as a marker to assess the extent of learning.[1],[2],[3] Programmatic assessment has been successfully implemented in a wide range of settings like in otorhinolaryngology or even in emergency medicine under the residency program.[5],[6]

To conclude, it is the need of the hour to resort to programmatic assessment instead of traditional assessment to not only improve the learning outcome of the students but also as an indicator of quality assurance.

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Conflicts of interest

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1Singh T. Student assessment: Moving over to programmatic assessment. Int J Appl Basic Med Res 2016;6:149-50.
2Wilkinson TJ, Tweed MJ. Deconstructing programmatic assessment. Adv Med Educ Pract 2018;9:191-7.
3Heeneman S, Oudkerk Pool A, Schuwirth LW, van der Vleuten CP, Driessen EW. The impact of programmatic assessment on student learning: Theory versus practice. Med Educ 2015;49:487-98.
4Bok HG, Teunissen PW, Favier RP, Rietbroek NJ, Theyse LF, Brommer H, et al. Programmatic assessment of competency-based workplace learning: When theory meets practice. BMC Med Educ 2013;13:123.
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