An authentic assessment – The IPA!

Joanna Bishop, Carmel Tepper, Neelam Doshi, Allan Stirling

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationEducationpeer-review


In year two of our medical program we have developed an authentic assessment method that integrates multiple
disciplines and their unique teaching methods. Whilst anatomy is often assessed as a practical, disciplines such
as pharmacology and pathology have traditionally been delivered in isolation and only didactically. Faculty
members are encouraged to develop interactive learning sessions where multiple disciplines jointly create and
deliver active, practical, outcomes-driven workshops. The challenge then, is to assess this learning in an
authentic manner that rewards good learning habits and encourages attendance in these practical sessions.
The integrated practical assessment (IPA) is a timed, sequential practical exam, based in the laboratory. This
setting permits the use of multimedia stimulus such as models, videos, cadaveric specimens, pathological pots
and X-rays together with charts, lab results and ECGs. We have even incorporated live models and simulation
resources such as mannequins. . Academics are encouraged to develop stations together that integrate session
outcomes. Stations are rich in context and the stimulus requires students to apply their higher order reasoning
skills across disciplines.
Statistically, the IPA is a reliable exam (Cronbach alpha 0.71) that has been endorsed by both faculty and
student feedback. Evaluation of the cohort indicates a high satisfaction rate and strong correlation with their
teaching and curriculum outcomes.
Students who participate in scheduled sessions will see strong links between their learning journey and this
assessment. The IPA encourages good learning habits as students are rewarded for completing self-directed
learning activities and participation in practical sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe 17th Ottawa Conference and the ANZAHPE 2016 Conference - Perth Exhibition and Conference Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 19 Mar 201623 Mar 2016
Conference number: 17th


ConferenceThe 17th Ottawa Conference and the ANZAHPE 2016 Conference
OtherThe continuum of healthcare professions education and assessment will be addressed, with sessions covering undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education. The Conference provides the opportunity to focus on developments in the assessment of competence in medicine and the healthcare professions internationally by following the Ottawa streams, or to look more generally at education in the healthcare professions by following the ANZAHPE streams. All participants will have the opportunity through one joint registration to attend sessions in either stream depending on their interests and needs.

In this period of economic rationalisation of resources, increasing demands on healthcare delivery and the required provision of evidence of best utilisation of finite resources to deliver health care, what should be our expectations of our trainees and health professionals in the workplace? How can we promote and share best practice in education, in assessment and in the evaluation of our training programmes? The Conference will provide ample opportunities to present and exchange ideas and concepts with colleagues from across the world.
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