How to Design a Useful Test: The Principles of Assessment

Lambert WT Schuwirth, Cees PM Van der Vleuten

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter guides the reader through the field of assessment of medical competence and performance by providing background information and a few guidelines. The most important messages the authors have tried to convey are that in designing high-quality assessments, foundations are rational decisions based on the best available evidence and careful quality control. The chapter describes the major strengths and weaknesses of different groups of commonly used assessment methods, using the five criteria that include: reliability, validity, educational impact, cost-efficiency and acceptability. Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) and simulated patient (SP)-based examinations have become very popular for the assessment of (practical) skills. There are some interesting and potential possibilities presented by computer-based assessment that are unique to the format and not merely logistical advantages. The authors discuss three of them here - namely, real-time simulations, sequential testing and computer-adaptive testing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUnderstanding Medical Education
    Subtitle of host publicationEvidence, Theory and Practice: Second Edition
    EditorsTim Swanwick
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781118472361
    ISBN (Print)9781118472408
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2013


    • Assessment methods
    • Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)
    • Simulated patient (SP) -based examinations


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