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Assessing Learning

Module titleAssessing Learning
Module codeHPDM104
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Mrs Sarah Bradley (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Herein we introduce the knowledge, skills and some tools required of teachers' assessing clinical learners, including validity, reliability and utility.  You will learn how to design appropriate assessments for testing knowledge, skills and attitudes.  You will also learn about face-to-face assessment, such as those appropriate in the workplace, and how to assess work submitted in both written and e-formats.  

Your assessment will involve the design of either an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or a Work-Based Assessment (WBA). You will need to include a short history of your chosen examination, why assessments needed to change and who were the proponents of the changes and critique the assessment that you design using the Van der Vleuten ‘equation’. Your design will be described in a 2000-word essay, excluding tables, forms, patient script, student instructions etc. These should be added as appendices.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Like other modules on this course, this module aims to give you both a sound knowledge base of principles and an understanding of their application in professional practice. 

Whilst descriptions of assessment design sound convincing in written accounts – like much of education, the practice and application is considerably different and more challenging – especially in the context of professional practice.  Through online pre-course preparation materials, we introduce the principles of assessment.  The module then focusses on how these principles are applied in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation of the contemporary assessment evidence base in a variety of practical clinical education contexts
  • 2. Critically appraise the utilisation and practical application of a wide range of different assessment tools

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Explain in detail, the educational importance and composition of comprehensive student support before, during and after assessment

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Evidence the professional ability to design and implement an assessment in detail and in context
  • 5. Demonstrate the ability to construct an appropriate practical assessment drawn from your professional skills.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:


What is assessment?

Assessment types


Formative / Summative


Reliability, Validity, Educational Impact etc


  • Choosing professionally relevant curriculum areas that require assessment (Knowledge, Skills,  Attitudes)


  • Aligning Assessment with Intended Learning Outcomes


  • Model Assessment techniques


  • Ways  to present the results of assessment


  • Supporting learners through the assessment process


  • Professionally determined assessment (e.g. Clinical Skills)


  • Face-to-face scheduled lectures may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos for each topic (15-20 minutes) and/or brief overview lectures delivered via MS Teams/Zoom, with learning consolidated by self-directed learning resources and ELE activities.
  • Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom; or asynchronous online discussion, for example via Yammer or ELE Discussion board
  • Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching may be replaced by synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom; or Asynchronous workshop activities supported with discussion forum
  • Skills workshops involving practical skills acquisition demonstrations may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos as pre-learning; or workshop via Teams/Zoom.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning & teaching activities16 hoursAll student taught sessions (2x8 hour sessions)
Guided independent study34 hoursOnline pre-course preparation, formative assessment and preparation for practical assessment
Guided independent study100 hoursPost- course assignment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Maintenance of logbook discussion1-5Oral feedback from Tutor
Practical demonstration of assessment at work with appropriate feedback (video of work-based assessment or role-play). Critical analytical account of process.30-60 minutes practical demonstration1-5Oral and written feedback from peers supervised by module leads.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
OSCE or WBA Design1002000 words1-5Written feedback from module leads


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
OSCE or WBA Design (100%)OSCE and WBA Design (2000 words)1-5Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Introduction to the general principles of teaching and learning

  1. Teaching in Further Education: An Outline of Principles and Practices by Curzon and Tummons (Bloomsbury).  An excellent introduction to the principles of teaching and learning for all professionals.

  2. Teaching, training and learning; a practical guide by Reece and Walker (Business Education Publishers Limited). Now out of print, but the 4th edition (2000) available on online book retailers very cheaply.  Remains probably the best practical introduction to teaching.

 Application of teaching and learning to clinical professions:

  1. ABC of Learning and Teaching in Medicine by Peter Cantillon and Dianna Wood. (BMJ Publishing).  A good basic introduction.

  2. Understanding Medical Education; Evidence Theory and Practice. Edited by Tim Swanwick. (Wiley-Blackwell).  An excellent more detailed account with good references to further work.  Each chapter is written by leaders in their fields.

 These books constitute the core textbooks for this course.

Further reading

Freeman A et al (2010) Choosing and designing knowledge assessments; experience at a new medical school.  Medical Teacher 32 (7) 578-81

Ricketts,C, Freeman A. et al (2010). Difficult decisions for progress testing; how much and how often? Medical Teacher 32 (6): 513-515

The Definitive Guide to the OSCE: The Objective Structured Clinical Examination as a performance assessment. (2015) by Ronald M Harden OBE MD FRCP(Glas) FRCPC FRCSEd (Author) et al, Churchill Livingstone

Davis MH (2003). OSCE: the Dundee experience. Medical Teacher 25: 255 – 261

Harrison R (2002). Revalidation: the real life OSCE. British Medical Journal 325: 1454 – 1456

Parker M (2006) Assessing professionalism; theory and practice Medical Teacher 28 (6) 399-403

Eva K and Hodges BD (2012) Scylla or Charybdis?  Can we navigate between objectification and judgement in assessment? Medical Education 46 (9) 914-919

Kramer AW, Jansen KJ, Dusman H, Tan LH, Van der Vleuten CPM, Grol RP (2003). Acquisition of clinical skills in postgraduate training for general practice. British Journal of General Practice 53: 677 -682

Davis MH, Friedman Ben David M, Harden RM, Howie P, Ker J, McGhee C, Pippard MJ and Snadden D (2001). Portfolio assessment in medical students’ final examinations. Medical Teacher 23: 357-366

Romiszowski AJ (1981). Designing Instructional Systems. Kogan Page.


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Formative, summative, assessment, workplace

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date