• The University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, attempted to develop a standardized, performance-based test battery aimed directly at assessing the critical aspects of clinical competence required for graduation from medical school. The battery used a blend of standardized patient-based and written test materials and was designed to yield a profile of scores, providing a "diagnosis" of student strengths and weaknesses on a skill-by-skill basis. Results indicate that a stable, reproducible assessment of clinical skills can be achieved in a one-to two-day test battery, depending on the specific skills measured. The resulting score profile provides faculty with important information about the clinical competence of students that is not readily available from other sources, thus improving the breadth and accuracy of student assessment. A long-term goal is that performance-based testing techniques will be incorporated into the licensure process to evaluate clinical skills and ensure the competence of graduating physicians.
(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1981-1985)