Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

of Case Western Reserve University

   Academics > Assessment


Assessment to Enhance Learning

The philosophy of CCLCM is that assessment should enhance learning. As such, students are provided feedback on their progress in basic science, research and clinical disciplines from multiple sources. This feedback allows students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses in comparison to defined, expected standards of performance.

No grades or comprehensive exams are given. Rather, students submit essays and supporting evidence of their achievement of the nine competency standards to the Medical Student Promotion and Review Committee for review and promotion to the next year.

This competency assessment is similar to the assessments used in residency training in the U.S. as mandated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The nine competencies are:

Demonstrate knowledge base and critical thinking skills for basic and clinical research and skill sets required to conceptualize and conduct research.
Demonstrate and apply knowledge of human structure and function, pathophysiology, human development and psychosocial concepts to medical practice.
Demonstrate effective verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills in a wide range of relevant activities in medicine and research.
Demonstrate knowledge and behavior that represents the highest standard of medical research and clinical practice, including compassion, humanism, and ethical and responsible actions at all times.
Recognize and analyze personal needs (learning, self-care, etc.), and implement plans for personal growth.
Perform appropriate history and physical examination in a variety of patient care encounters, and demonstrate effective uses of clinical procedures and laboratory tests.
Diagnose, manage and prevent common health problems of individuals, families and communities. Interpret findings and formulate action plan to characterize the problem and reach a diagnosis.
Recognize and be able to work effectively in the various healthcare systems in order to advocate and provide for quality patient care.
Demonstrate habits of analyzing cognitive and affective experiences that result in identification of learning needs leading to integration and synthesis of new learning.

Portfolios and Assessments

One of the unique core elements of CCLCM is the competency-based assessment and portfolio system. Educational portfolios are used by students to document their individual performance. This approach fosters a non-competitive learning environment where collaborative learning can thrive, and students take responsibility for self-directed learning that addresses their individual needs.

The electronic educational portfolio is evidence of students’ progress. The portfolio allows them to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses based on the evidence they have accumulated, and to develop learning plans to improve performance. This process helps them develop the skills of self-directed learning and reflective practice.

Online assessment forms are used to collect qualitative competency-based feedback from peers and faculty. The assessments are available to students and their physician advisors immediately in the ePortfolio. The students can review the feedback, add keywords and notes, and tag the assessments for future use as evidence for specific competencies. They also can sort all their assessments by competencies, targeted areas for improvements and areas of strength.

Students share their ePortfolio with their physician advisors and work closely with them to write their formative and summative portfolios. While writing these, they use bibliography tools to cite their evidence. The uploaded portfolios can then be viewed online by the physician advisors and the promotions committee.

Hear what our students have to say about the Portfolio system.

Clinical Assessment System

This system integrates patient and procedure logs, and formative and summative assessments during clinical rotations at multiple sites within Cleveland and elsewhere. The system tracks the student's clinical experience and helps ensure its congruence with the learning objectives of the rotations. Students can record every educationally significant clinical encounter and their specific roles and learning points in these encounters, request and receive feedback from faculty and housestaff, and search and review this data using dynamic flexible reporting tools.

The system maintains a database of teaching faculty at four major teaching hospitals in Cleveland and allows them one-click access to student assessment forms. Discipline and rotation leaders have extensive, up-to-date reports that allow them to scan for outliers, drill down to specifics and ensure that students are getting the experience for which the rotations were designed.

Assessors provide within- and end-of-rotation feedback to students based on these powerful reporting tools. The system also helps CCLCM meet numerous LCME accreditation requirements during the clinical years.

Physician Advisors

The assessment process is student-centered and student-driven, with strong support from physician advisors who meet with students regularly and guide them throughout the five-year curriculum.

A few times each year, students document their progress in the competencies with essays and provide evidence demonstrating their development as doctors and researchers. Physician advisors review their students’ essays and evidence, and help them create learning plans to address areas of weakness and to build on areas of strength.