Tag Archives: professional education

AERA: Frontiers in the Assessment of Entrustment and Competence across the Professions

Dear Colleagues,
As you plan your travels for the upcoming AERA meeting in Toronto, please also make note of the following Invited Panel Session (scheduled for Sunday morning, April 7) which includes presentations from three distinguished colleagues:

Invited Speaker Session: Frontiers in the Assessment of Entrustment and Competence across the Professions 

Session Date: Sunday morning, April 7, 2019 (exact time/location to be released this Friday, 2/15)

Invited Speakers: 

  • Olle ten Cate (Utrecht University): “Valuing what trainees are ready to do, rather than what they have done: entrustment as assessment”
  • Shiphra Ginsburg (University of Toronto): “How can qualitative assessment data inform entrustment decisions?”
  • Trudie Roberts (University of Leeds): “Machines rush in where humans fear to tread: the place of AI in assessment and entrustment”

Invited Session Overview: Concepts of entrustment and competence have resonated across the professions, with innovative and emerging methods to assess trainees. Recent advances in the literature have provided insights on the designs and frameworks to assess learners, including approaches that are beyond traditional forms of assessment. Yet, there are still challenges that remain as we struggle to refine assessments and understand how entrustment and competence can be operationalized and measured. This session will provide insights across the professions on current trends in the field, challenges, and frontier ideas, as they relate to entrustment and competence. 

Olle ten Cate: “Valuing what trainees are ready to do, rather than what they have done: entrustment as assessment”

Graduating trainees in the health professions means entrusting them with critical activities of the profession. An assessment system with that goal in mind should not be limited to observing and judging what can be seen, and has been seen, but should anticipate that learners will perform activities that have not been observed and even may have never been encountered. Trust and entrustment includes the willingness of educators and educational programs to accept risks when making entrustment decisions and consequently urge them to look into a learner’s capability to cope with unfamiliar challenges

Shiphra Ginsburg: “How can qualitative assessment data inform entrustment decisions?”

Assessment decisions have historically relied nearly exclusively on numeric scores and quantitative data. Narrative, qualitative assessment comments have often been ignored, despite offering a richer, more nuanced perspective on learners’ performance. These comments also shed light on how supervisors conceptualize feedback, performance and competence. How can we optimize the use of qualitative data when making entrustment decisions and other judgments about our learners?

Trudie Roberts: “Machines rush in where humans fear to tread: the place of AI in assessment and entrustment”

The fourth industrial revolution will mean major changes to the practice of many professions. In surgery the use of robots or co-bots is likely to be an increasing feature. Improved computing power will mean that in depth performance analytics will be available on all doctors. The machine will increasingly be part of the healthcare team. How much say then could a computer algorithm or a robot have on assessing a doctor’s competence and will trainees ever need a robot’s entrustment to progress. 

Thanks,
Yoon Soo
Vice President, AERA Division I
Education in the Professions

An Exercise in Gratitude

Adult urgent care entranceGratitude is one of the pillars of happiness — “the parent of all virtues” (Wood, Joseph and Linley, 2007). Here is a way to begin the New Year on a positive note.  I created this task for professionals-in-training and their teachers, but others might want to try it as well.

Take some time to think about how professionals have contributed to your own well being during the course of your life. Imagining who belongs within the abstract category of workers we call “professionals” raises many issues, and you might want to think about this at a later time. For now, just go with your own sense of the matter.  In general, professionals are people who have high levels of technical expertise, practices grounded in a shared, empirically grounded knowledge-base, control over their own certification process, a comparatively high level of autonomy, a code of ethics. There are many points of view on the matter, so just see where your thoughts take you. With no pretense or hope of comprehensiveness, here are a few of my own reflections:

There were the nurses and physicians who helped my mother “deliver” me into the world, and who saw to my health in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Dr. Wright, the general practitioner, came to the house when someone was sick, examining us, and perhaps writing a prescription for the pharmacist (another professional) to fill.  There were the teachers who taught me to read, write, develop new skills, solve problems and adapt (more or less) to the demands of life in post-industrial society. Mrs. Gephart, the school nurse at Edina Elementary School, took me under her wing.  She let me help in the nurse’s office after lunch, when all the other kids went out for recess.  I much preferred the company of a caring adult to braving the frigid Minnesota cold on the playground after lunch every day! Mr. Jambeck, my 11th grade English teacher, taught me to appreciate how, in order to really understand the literature and the visual arts of each era, one needed to consider the contexts in which they were produced. In many respects, this insight made me who I am: inspired my interests and my life’s work. Architects and contractors designed and built the dwellings that gave my family and me shelter from the elements. When I was 9 or 10 years old, my Dad showed me the blueprint of our suburban home.  What a wonder!  Decades later, a wise and competent lawyer helped set me free of an unfortunate relationship that no amount of time, effort, love or forgiveness could repair…

If all this suggests an embrace of an old-style functionalist and “celebrationist” mindset — well, so be it! The experience and expression of gratitude can have personal and societal benefits (Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson, 2005). We tend to take professionals and their contributions for granted. So every once in awhile, we ought to drop our critical lances (yes, lances, not lenses) on the ground and recalibrate, taking into consideration the benefits we derive from the professionals whose work contributes in so many ways to our health and well-being. The system as a whole is flawed, but essential to our diverse ways of life and amenable to improvement.  — Ed Prof

Further Reading

Encyclopedia of Gratitude (A free source of things for which to be grateful compiled by Erich Origen.  Print version available in February, 2012)

Gratitude (Wikipedia.Org entry provides a useful overview as well as citations of empirical studies on the nature and consequences of gratitude.)

Leo Babauta (2007). Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy .  Posted on Zenhabits.net .

References

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N.,& Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421

Wood, A., Joseph, S. and Linley, A. (2007).  Gratitude — Parent of all virtuesThe Psychologist, 20, 1:  18 – 20.

 All rights reserved, 2012

Degree Program Search Sites: A Cautionary Note

clouds on a southwestern horizon

Clouds on the Horizon

Not long ago, Gwen Jensen (pseudonym) contacted me about a website intended to help those interested in earning a masters degree in Elementary Education.  She wanted me to add a link for her site to a web page I manage that provides links to Professional Education Associations. The idea was to encourage education students to join one or more professional associations — to expand their professional lifenets.  Although Gwen offered sound advice on her (dot-org) page, something didn’t seem quite right.  First, she didn’t provide any trace of herself — her identity — on her website.  There was no date on the page, nor any sense of authorship or institutional affiliation — yet the page was supposed to serve prospective students.  (She was not forthcoming via email, either, when I pointed this out to her.)

In addition, the page was tightly linked to a commercial site that presumably provided a way to search for masters degree programs by location and area of specialization.  I used the commercial site’s search feature a number of times, entering my own area code and that of a public university located nearby.  Over half of the institutions that appeared were for-profit colleges, and all were private (rather than public) liberal arts schools. In order of appearance: University of Phoenix; Ashford; Kaplan; Keiser University Graduate School; Liberty Online; American Intercontinental; North Central; Walden; Full Sail; Grand Canyon; Lindenwood; Concordia, and Ashworth.   I guess that public colleges and universities don’t warrant inclusion in the databases of this marvelous Quin Street-hosted mechanism for garnering “views” and somehow making a profit by helping teachers locate degree programs that provide just the right “fit” with their needs!  Gwen’s motives (inferred from an email conversation with her) seemed genuine, and this makes me wonder what, exactly, is going on here?

I am even more wary about all this since receiving a second email request from another woman who said she had created a website to help people find programs that offer elementary education degrees.  And sure enough, her page contained some apparently authentic (and not carefully proofread or edited) prose combined with a link to the same commercial school-search site.  I am not sure if the same games are being played in other fields (healthcare, counseling, engineering).

There are probably many lessons to be learned from all this, but here is my cautionary note for bloggers:  be mindful about  the entities with whom you affiliate.  Think before you link.  As you work to attract attention to your blog or website or social media site, be thoughtful about where you direct your visitors’ attention.  Understand that the public sphere, and our public institutions, are being eroded in various ways by profiteers who advance their own interests with no concern for the common good.

—  Ed Prof