Assessment is entering every phase of professional development. It is now used during the medical school application process, at the start of residency training, and as part of the “maintenance of certification” requirements that several medical boards have adopted. Multiple methods of assessment implemented longitudinally can provide the data that are needed to assess trainees' learning needs and to identify and remediate suboptimal performance by clinicians. Decisions about whether to use formative or summative assessment formats, how frequently assessments should be made, and what standards should be in place remain challenging. Educators also face the challenge of developing tools for the assessment of qualities such as professionalism, teamwork, and expertise that have been difficult to define and quantify.


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