Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Major Changes in Medical Education as a Model for Outcome Assessment of Law Students

Major changes are coming in how medical-residency programs evaluate their students.

New Accreditation System Will Require Medical Residents to Show Skills and Traits by Katherine Mangan.

"Medical-residency programs will be required to demonstrate that their trainees have the skills and personal attributes they need to be competent, empathetic doctors under a new accreditation system unveiled last week."

"The new system will also provide more regular, detailed feedback to medical residents, who will be assessed twice a year on how well they are mastering about three dozen skills and behaviors."

"The new system will focus instead on outcomes—"the actual behaviors you should see in order to be confident that resident physicians are progressing to the point where they will be ready to practice on their own," she said."

"Residents will be able to progress at their own pace, moving more quickly through the skills that come easily to them and spending more time and remediation in areas they find challenging."

""We're not trying to create cookie-cutter doctors," said Thomas J. Nasca, the council's chief executive officer. The goal, instead, is to identify a set of core skills that physicians must master to show that they have the skills and behavior to be good doctors."

"The specific skills, which are being developed by each medical specialty, will cover six core areas: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, systems-based practice, professionalism, and interpersonal skills and communication. Programs will have to develop and publish specific learning outcomes that residents must demonstrate as they progress through training."

As most of you know, the Carnegie Report stresses this kind of outcome assessment for law students.  For example, why can't law schools test their students' skills at the beginning of their third year and then have the students work on the skills they are deficient in during their third year?

(Scott Fruehwald)

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