The purpose of this study was to explore residents' and assessors' perception of a new group assessment concept.
This qualitative study consists of observations of four group assessment sessions, followed by semi-structured interviews with six residents and four assessors (specialists in internal medicine), who all volunteered to be interviewed. All residents at a medical department (eleven to fifteen each time) and four assessors participated in four group assessments, where the residents' clinical skills were assessed through case-based discussions.
An external consultant (an anthropologist) performed the observations and the interviews. Notes from the observations and the interviews were analyzed using an inductive approach.
Eight of the ten interviewed participants preferred group assessment to individual assessment. Results from the interviews suggested that the group assessments were more consistent and that the level of discussion was perceived to be higher in the group discussions compared to the one-to-one discussions. All residents indicated that they had acquired new knowledge during their assessment and reported having learned from listening to the assessment of their peers. Assessors similarly reported gaining new knowledge.
The residents and assessors expressed very favourable attitudes toward the new group assessment concept. The assessment process was perceived to be higher in quality and more consistent, contributing to learning for all participating doctors in the department. Group assessment is feasible and acceptable, and provides a promising tool for assessment of clinical skills in the future.