How progress evaluations are used in postgraduate education with longitudinal supervisor-trainee relationships: a mixed method study

Marnix P. D. Westein, A. S. Koster, H. E. M. Daelmans, M. L. Bouvy, R. A. Kusurkar

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The combination of measuring performance and giving feedback creates tension between formative and summative purposes of progress evaluations and can be challenging for supervisors. There are conflicting perspectives and evidence on the effects supervisor-trainee relationships have on assessing performance. The aim of this study was to learn how progress evaluations are used in postgraduate education with longitudinal supervisor-trainee relationships. Progress evaluations in a two-year community-pharmacy specialization program were studied with a mixed-method approach. An adapted version of the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists (CanMEDS) framework was used. Validity of the performance evaluation scores of 342 trainees was analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. Semi-structured interviews were held with fifteen supervisors to investigate their response processes, the utility of the progress evaluations, and the influence of supervisor-trainee relationships. Time and CanMEDS roles affected the three-monthly progress evaluation scores. Interviews revealed that supervisors varied in their response processes. They were more committed to stimulating development than to scoring actual performance. Progress evaluations were utilized to discuss and give feedback on trainee development and to add structure to the learning process. A positive supervisor-trainee relationship was seen as the foundation for feedback and supervisors preferred the roles of educator, mentor, and coach over the role of assessor. We found that progress evaluations are a good method for directing feedback in longitudinal supervisor-trainee relationships. The reliability of scoring performance was low. We recommend progress evaluations to be independent of formal assessments in order to minimize roles-conflicts of supervisors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in health sciences education
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Feedback
  • Longitudinal relationship
  • Performance assessment
  • Postgraduate education
  • Progress evaluation
  • Supervisor

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