Medical Education Day

More... Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Medical Education Day 2014




Assessment: Getting to the Top of the Pyramid 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014  ~ 12:15-6:00pm


Harvard Medical School  -  Tosteson Medical Education Center (TMEC) Amphitheater and Atrium  -  260 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA



Abstract Booklet


Target Audience:

Click here 


HMS Faculty Members 


The goal of medical education is to produce physicians who can provide quality care for their patients. Given the complexity of biomedical science, the need to interact with growing diversity in the patient population, and the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, assessing competence has become increasingly challenging. To the extent that the focus and means by which assessment is performed can have an impact on the approach learners take in courses and clinical settings, teachers must be particularly thoughtful about the interdependence of teaching-learning-assessment.  Utilizing plenary discussions and workshops, this program will explore strategies for assessing medical students and residents as we go from “knowledge,” the base of Miller’s pyramid, to “demonstrating competence,” the top of the pyramid.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the relationship between assessment strategies and learning
  • Design assessment strategies that address both analytical reasoning and knowledge transfer
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using simulation as an assessment tool
  • Design a station for an observed structured clinical exam
  • Determine the elements comprising assessment exercises at the bedside



Schedule of Events


12:45 to 1:05 pm

Putting Assessment into Context- click here for video
Richard M. Schwartzstein, MD, Barbara Cockrill, MD and Christopher Smith, MD

This session will outline large themes in the cognitive and behavioral sciences as they pertain to the assessment and evaluation of learners, and will demonstrate the relevance of those themes to medical education. We will make linkages between these theoretical constructs and the new curriculum under development at Harvard Medical School as well as the demand to assess the competencies promulgated by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education for residents and fellows.


1:05 to 2:00 pm

Keynote Address: Evaluation Drives Learning
Ronald Epstein, MD- Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Nursing- University of Rochester Medical Center

“Evaluation drives learning”- this maxim has guided teachers for decades. This session will address a number of key questions pertinent to the link between how we observe and test learners and our goals for their development. Theoretical constructs underlying meaningful assessment will also be explored.


2:10 to 4:00 pm


Workshop Sessions 1 & 2 (options will repeat)


1. Simulation Based Assessment
Ariel Frey-Vogel. MD, Jakob McSparron, MD, Eli Miloslavsky, MD

As medical educators we share the responsibility of ensuring that our learners are capable of caring for patients in accordance to our high professional standards. However, because of time constraints or patient safety concerns we are often not able to fully and safely evaluate learners at the bedside. Simulation not only offers a safe learning environment, but also provides an opportunity to assess learner performance in a variety of standardized settings. During this workshop participants will explore the role of simulation in learner assessment, including the strengths, limitations, and barriers to simulation-based assessment. Participants will consider methods to overcoming these barriers and how they might incorporate simulation as an assessment tool in their own teaching environment.

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the role of simulation in the assessment of learner performance
  • Identify limitations and strengths of simulation-based assessment
  • Describe methods to help overcome common barriers to using simulation-based assessment
  • Delineate opportunities in which simulation can be utilized to assess learner performance in their own teaching environment.


2. The use of OSCE’s as an Assessment Tool
Susan Farrell, MD, EdM and David Fessler, MD

Since it was first described in 1975, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has become a commonly used assessment tool to evaluate clinical skills. The OSCE has been reported as reliable, valid and objective, and able to cover a broad range of clinical domains such as communication skills, problem solving, and decision-making. However, OSCEs are difficult to organize and costly to perform, with and intense commitment of humanresources, time, materials and space. During this workshop participants will learn how to design an OSCE, consider the advantages and disadvantages, and discuss how OSCE data might be utilized by various stakeholders.

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Draft an outline of a basic OSCE based on his/her own area of clinical interest
  • Describe how OSCE data can be understood in order to improve teaching, learning, and curriculum design/implementation


3. Assessing critical thinking
Richard Schwartzstein, MD and Edward Krupat, PhD

Teaching and assessing thinking skills are among the most important and yet challenging tasks confronting medical educators. This session will provide an overview of both behavioral and cognitive factors that are important in ‘critical thinkers’ and their associated milestones. In addition, two approaches to assessing cognitive elements of critical thinking (concept mapping and script concordance tests) will be demonstrated and discussed.

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the elements of critical thinking as they apply to clinical reasoning
  • Link assessment goals to one or more of the core elements of critical thinking
  • Describe at least two approaches to assessing critical thinking in medical students and/or residents

4. Peer Assessment
Jeremy Richards, M.D.

As “360” feedback is becoming a part of professional life in medicine, understanding the components of multi-perspective assessments is important. Academic physicians evaluate students and residents regularly, and increasingly physicians must both give and receive peer evaluations as a component of recertification. As students learn more effectively when peer feedback is included in their learning activities, this workshop will explore the role and value of peer to peer assessment in medical education. Participants will identify what is necessary for student preparation for peer assessment in order to implement this powerful strategy in educational setting. In addition, participants will define best practices for implementing and debriefing after peer assessment, and describe how peer assessment can benefit the student doing the assessment, the student being assessed, and the instructor.

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Justify the role of peer assessment of learner performance in medical education
  • Identify best practices for preparing for, performing, and debriefing after peer assessment
  • Describe limitations of peer assessment and strategies to overcome those limitations


5. Bedside Observation and Assessment
Nora Osman, MD, and Alberto Puig, MD, PhD

Assessment of clinical competence is challenging, but a critically important task for medical educators. A number of different assessments using standardized patients—such as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)--have been used—but these methods are in artificial settings. Teaching and assessing students successfully in the hospital or clinic setting with real patients is more difficult, but can be very valuable in formative assessments of students. Standardization of assessment in this setting presents a great challenge, as does the busy nature of the clinic or hospital wards.

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the role of bedside observation in assessment of medical learners.
  • Identify the value of bedside observation in the assessment of students
  • Identify limitations and strengths of Bedside Observation and Assessment
  • Describe methods to help overcome common barriers


6. The Use of Portfolios in Assessment
Susan Frankl, MD and David Rubin, MD

Portfolios have commonly been utilized in undergraduate and postgraduate medical. Portfolios have the potential to enhance self-reflection and self-directed learning, allowing the learning to reflect upon learning outcomes over an extended period of time. As such, portfolios have the potential to be an effective formative and summative assessment tool. During this workshop participants will explore the use of portfolios as an assessment tool, including how to overcome common barriers.

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the role of portfolios in both formative and summative learner assessment
  • Delineate the benefits and challenges involved in the use of portfolios for assessment
  • Understand how to design and implement a portfolio as a method of assessment
4:10-4:20 pm Medical Education Day Abstract Award Ceremony
4:20-5:00 pm Wrap Up/ Next Steps
5:00-6:00 pm Poster Session & Reception (click here for video)




Introductory Remarks
Richard Schwartzstein, MD
PowerPoint Slides
Video of Introductory Remarks
Simulation Based Assessment
Jakob McSparron, MD and Eli Miloslavsky, MD
The Use of OSCE’s as an Assessment Tool
Susan Farrell, MD EdM and David Fessler, MD
Assessing Critical Thinking
Richard Schwartzstein, MD and Edward Krupat, PhD
PowerPoint Slides
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
Article 4
Article 5
Article 6
Peer Assessment
Jeremy Richards, MD MA
Post Workshop Exercise
Bedside Observation and Assessment
Nora Osman, MD and Alberto Puig, MD PhD
Article 1
The Use of Portfolios in Assessment
Susan Frankl, MD and David Rubin, MD

Course Director:
Richard M. Schwartzstein, MD, Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medical Education- BIDMC, Director of the Academy at Harvard Medical School

Course Planners:
Barbara Cockrill, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine
Christopher Smith, MD Associate Professor of Medicine

The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.5AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Past Medical Education Day Pages:

Medical Education Day 2013
Medical Education Day 2012
Medical Education Day 2011
Medical Education Day 2010



Our Mission

To create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease