How ‘testing’ has become ‘programmatic assessment for learning’

Lambert Schuwirth, Cees van der Vleuten

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    12 Citations (Scopus)
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    Programmatic assessment for learning is a fundamentally different approach to assessment than the more traditional methods. Yet, it is a logical next step given the history of assessment. In this narrative and subjective review we describe our view on the historical developments in assessment and how they have logically led to the development of programmatic assessment for learning.

    The early stages of assessment focussed on measurement of competence with an aim to develop the single best method for each aspect of competence. With the development of competencies the notion of integration and more meaningful assessment emerged but still reductionist issues remained. Programmatic assessment for learning currently seeks to assess students more holistically and meaningfully with rigorous attention to trustworthiness and credibility of the whole assessment process. As such, it may be a revolutionary development but it strongly builds on previous research and insights in the field.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-184
    Number of pages8
    JournalHealth Professions Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open accessarticle under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


    • Programmatic assessment
    • Assessment for learning
    • History of assessment


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