The Next Era of Assessment: Building a Trustworthy Assessment System

Holly A. Caretta-Weyer, Alina Smirnova, Michael A. Barone, Jason R. Frank, Tina Hernandez-Boussard, Dana Levinson, Kiki M. J. M. H. Lombarts, Kimberly D. Lomis, Abigail Martini, Daniel J. Schumacher, David A. Turner, Abigail Schuh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Assessment in medical education has evolved through a sequence of eras each centering on distinct views and values. These eras include measurement (e.g., knowledge exams, objective structured clinical examinations), then judgments (e.g., workplace-based assessments, entrustable professional activities), and most recently systems or programmatic assessment, where over time multiple types and sources of data are collected and combined by competency committees to ensure individual learners are ready to progress to the next stage in their training. Significantly less attention has been paid to the social context of assessment, which has led to an overall erosion of trust in assessment by a variety of stakeholders including learners and frontline assessors. To meaningfully move forward, the authors assert that the reestablishment of trust should be foundational to the next era of assessment. In our actions and interventions, it is imperative that medical education leaders address and build trust in assessment at a systems level. To that end, the authors first review tenets on the social contextualization of assessment and its linkage to trust and discuss consequences should the current state of low trust continue. The authors then posit that trusting and trustworthy relationships can exist at individual as well as organizational and systems levels. Finally, the authors propose a framework to build trust at multiple levels in a future assessment system; one that invites and supports professional and human growth and has the potential to position assessment as a fundamental component of renegotiating the social contract between medical education and the health of the public.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalPerspectives on medical education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Cite this