Assessment and Evaluation in Interprofessional Education: Exploring the Field

By Blue, Amy V.; Chesluk, Benjamin J. et al. | Journal of Allied Health, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

Assessment and Evaluation in Interprofessional Education: Exploring the Field


Blue, Amy V., Chesluk, Benjamin J., Conforti, Lisa N., Holmboe, Eric S., Journal of Allied Health


BACKGROUND: The practice of interprofessional education (IPE) is expanding rapidly in the United States and globally. The publication of competencies from the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) was a significant step forward to recognize the importance of health professions collaboration and to guide institutions for educational program development. However, there remains substantial difficulty in implementation, as well as considerable variability in assessment of learners' interprofessional collaborative knowledge and skills and evaluation of IPE programs. METHODS: We conducted a multi-methods project which included 20 key informant interviews, a literature review, and a meeting of an expert panel. Our goals were 1) explore the current field of IPE, 2) identify and disseminate best practices to institutions wishing to implement/augment IPE assessment and evaluation processes, 3) uncover gaps in current IPE assessment and evaluation practices, and 4) recommend next steps for the field. RESULTS: A small and growing literature indicates evidence of the effectiveness of IPE. A diverse collection of methods and tools are used to assess and evaluate IPE learners and programs; these are often used without an explicit program-evaluation framework. CONCLUSIONS: For the field to advance and to align with the demands of changing clinical care systems, robust assessment and evaluation methods, standardized use of common tools, and longitudinal assessment from diverse data streams are needed for IPE. J Allied Health 2015; 44(2):73-82.

INTERPROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (IPE) has expanded globally and rapidly in the United States in significance and growth in recent years. In May 2011, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), sponsored by six national associations of the schools of the health professions, published core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice.1 This was a significant advance for IPE in the U.S., bringing broad national attention to the need for IPE within health professions training. Health professions accreditation standards in the U.S. are referencing IPE to varying degrees,2 and as the IPE field evolves, increasing consensus should emerge about common expectations for demonstration of learning outcomes and student competency.

As stated by several observers, including the expert panel charged by IPEC,1 assessment of competencies is not well developed, making this a challenge for educators. The need for improved assessment methods and tools in IPE is commonly recognized, as is the need for defined outcomes at the level of individual learner, team, and program. Though IPE has an established literature base, the field continues to rapidly evolve with new program development and associated educational innovations. To explore the present state of assessment and evaluation in IPE and to address the urgency for development of improved assessment/evaluation approaches, we conducted a multi-method project examining work reported in the literature as well as in use "on the ground" to determine current practices in IPE assessment/evaluation, identify needs and gaps, and develop recommendations for next steps in the field. We wanted to identify what is known and used by programs for IPE assessment/evaluation, including promising methods not widely used and/or yet reported in the literature that could be leveraged to accelerate development or further testing of specific methods across institutions. Our project goals were:

1) explore the current field of IPE,

2) identify and disseminate best practices to institutions wishing to implement/augment IPE assessment and evaluation processes,

3) uncover gaps in current IPE assessment and evaluation practices, and

4) recommend next steps for the field.

Findings from this multi-methods project are reported here.

Methods

The project was composed of multiple components to capture the breadth and the quickly changing nature of the field. …

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