Basic Performance Documentation

Faculty need to document learner performance for use in formative and summative evaluations. Learner performance should be assessed frequently and be based on overall assessment criteria outlined by the sponsoring institution or program. Evaluations based on numerous documented points of evaluation are of consistently higher quality than those based on a single faculty member recalling performance over a rotation.1,2,3 Qualitative comments are most helpful to accurately describe learner performance.  Additionally, both learners and faculty report comments to be more useful than Likert scale ratings.4   All assessment observations should be based on direct observation of the learner. 

Quick Tips

  • Develop a system of recording daily or weekly performance reflections on learners
  • Ask sponsoring programs to supply evaluation forms for daily observations and for final evaluations to facilitate thoughtful observations and useful evaluations
  • Provide detailed comments by including specific examples of strengths and weaknesses
  • Maintain a learning climate based on mutual respect

Erik Schweitzer, MD
Northwest Washington Family Medicine Residency, Bremerton, WA

Dana Nguyen, MD
Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

  1. Chan T, Sherbino J. The McMaster Modular Assessment Program (McMAP): A Theoretically Grounded Work-Based Assessment System for an Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Acad Med. 2015;90:900–905.
  2. Dudek N, Dojeiji S. Twelve tips for completing quality in-training evaluation reports. Medical Teacher. 2014;36(12):1038-1042. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2014.932897
  3. Fazio SB, Ledford CH, et al. Competency-Based Medical Education in the Internal Medicine Clerkship: A Report From the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Task Force. Acad Med. 2018;93:421–427.
  4. Lowry BN, Vansaghi LM, Rigler SK, Stites SW. Applying the Milestones in an Internal Medicine Residency Program Curriculum: A Foundation for Outcomes-Based Learner Assessment Under the Next Accreditation System. Acad Med. 2013;88:1665–1669.