Reviewing how we assess trainees

With the exciting trainee curricula pilot underway, work is continuing on an in-depth review of the College’s wider strategy for assessing trainees.

The aim of the review is to develop a world-class assessment system which is fair robust and rigorous, and enables psychiatrists to demonstrate they have the professional knowledge, skills, values, and behaviours to meet the mental health care needs of their patients and become confident clinicians.

We are working to achieve this aim by:

  • improving learning outcomes by reviewing the educational methodology behind all assessments, including WPBAs and the MRCPsych examination
  • considering alternative assessment methods like logbooks, consultation recordings and others
  • establishing the best delivery method for the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC)
  • continuing to strive to reduce the differential attainment gap in training and in particular address any perceived bias/disadvantage of different assessment systems for particular cohorts of trainees
  • standardising and improving WPBAs, engaging and training trainers and ensuring these are robust and effective assessment tools
  • demonstrating that assessment methods are fair, reliable and valid.

The review, which began last summer, is led by the Dean, the Chief Examiner and the Associate Dean for Curricula – working in close collaboration with the Psychiatric Trainees Committee (PTC), Heads of School, the General Medical Council (GMC), expert educationalists, and other stakeholders – and there will be plenty of opportunities for consultation along the way.

The review panel is due to issue its recommendations to the Board of Trustees and the GMC in January 2023.

The review, and the changes to the trainee curricula, are part of a suite of improvements to training and assessment, which also includes the recent introduction of digital exams.

The timeline for the review means we will not be in a position to implement any changes until September 2023 at the earliest, and the September 2022 and January 2023 CASC exams will remain on-line.

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