Programmatic assessment is an integral approach to the design of an assessment program with the intent to optimize its learning function, its decision-making function and its curriculum quality-assurance function. Individual methods of assessment, purposefully chosen for their alignment with the curriculum outcomes and their information value for the learner, are seen as individual data points. The information value of these individual data points is maximized by giving feedback to the learner. There is a decoupling of assessment moment and pass/fail decision moment. Intermediate and high-stakes decisions are based on multiple data points after a meaningful aggregation of information and supported by rigorous organizational procedures to ensure their trustworthiness. Self-regulation of learning, through analysis of the assessment information and the attainment of the ensuing learning goals, is scaffolded by creating a dialogue with the learner, for example in a mentoring system. Programmatic assessment can be applied to any part of the training continuum, provided that the underlying learning conception is a constructivist one.
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ten Cate & Scheele (2007) introduced the concept of entrustable professional activities (EPA), tasks that are considered to be crucial to the profession, which every trainee must master, and which consequently are given a central place in the training programme. EPAs stand for the dozens of types of ‘‘does’’ that are meaningful to clinicians. Scheele et al. (2008) developed three criteria to define EPAs: a task of high importance for daily practice; a high-risk or error-prone task; a task that is exemplary of specific competencies.
A student receives large amounts of information about their performances. Keeping overview and actively giving meaning to this information is complicated. During reflection, the information from assessment and feedback needs to be linked meaningfully, to be connected to competencies and relations with previous events have to be made. A mindmap-based e- portfolio stimulates effective use of the rich feedback and assessment information that students receive, stimulates the feedback dialogue with mentors and offers students and mentors an overview that is appreciated.