Assessment of Learners

The programmatic assessment system provides valid, reliable and timely assessments of the competence of trainees to guide progress and promotion decisions and to motivate, direct and support learners.

UGME Assessment Overview

Assessment in Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) is built on principles of programmatic assessment where a mix of assessment methods or modalities are used in each course. The programmatic assessment model maintains consistency in the assessment modalities used (Progress Tests, Written Exams, Objective Structured Clinical Exams, Workplace Based Assessment, and Portfolio) across the 4-year program.

This model is integrative, developmental, and provides regular, appropriate, and, timely feedback to students and faculty.


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Objective Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE)

OSCEs assess clinical skills using standardized simulated clinical scenarios. Students perform specific clinical tasks such as history-taking, physical examination or counselling, reflective of an appropriate level of skill development. A pre-set number of summative OSCE stations are required to be passed to pass the OSCE. Formative OSCEs for practice and learning are also offered; students are required to complete these.


Students are placed in groups of 7-9 students, each with a designated faculty portfolio coach.  These portfolio groups meet several times per year year to explore and reflect on what students are learning and seeing in practice. In addition, students  also submit written assignments that coaches provide feedback on. 

Written Exams

Course Written Exams are based on multiple choice questions. Their purpose is to assess applied knowledge related to the learning objectives in a course. Students must achieve a minimum cumulative score of 60% across all course written exams to pass the course.

Progress Tests are based multiple choice questions which are set at exit (graduate) competency level. The same exam is taken multiple times a year across all four years, allowing students to track their progress in the use of applied knowledge over time.

Workplace Based Assessment (WBA)

Multiple observations of student’s knowledge, skills and behaviour in the workplace are conducted iteratively in each course. 

WBA focuses on assessment of students’ demonstrated knowledge, skills and attitudes; provides on-going, effective feedback to students; maps students’ developmental progression towards achieving Year 3 milestones; allows assessors to identify students with academic or professionalism concerns; identifies students in need of extra assistance so the appropriate supports can be provided. Narrative feedback and suggestions for improvement are built into WBA. 

Students must achieve the Course Learning Outcomes assessed by WBA to pass a course.

The Years 3 & 4 Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) Orientation module linked in the Resources section below provides a comprehensive guide to WBA including filling out a Direct Observation (DO) form. 

PGME Assessment Overview

Assessment in Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) is program specific. Assessment methods can involve a mix of formative and summative tools.

Competency-based medical education (CBME) is an outcomes-based approach to the design, implementation, assessment and evaluation of a medical education program using an organizing framework of competencies (e.g., CanMEDS 2015).

CBME is a framework of education which focuses on both the process & outcomes of training.  The outcomes serve as signposts and frequent, low-stakes assessments from clinical educators track residents’ progression towards competence. In other words, residents’ progression through rotations is dependent on their achieving pre-determined competencies rather than reaching the end of a rotation. 



EPAs and Milestones

EPAs are the key tasks or activities that a resident needs to be able to perform (e.g. run a clinic). Each EPA contains Milestones.

Milestones are specific, measurable and observable components of an EPA (e.g. intubate an airway under supervision), required to fully demonstrate EPA achievement.


Workplace Based Assessment (WBA)

The goal of the WBAs is for frontline clinical teachers to observe and document authentic observations of a resident’s performance in the workplace on a regular basis.

In CBD, WBAs are EPA assessments, and are designed to proivde specific, timely feedback to learners on their skill progression and inform EPA achievement decisions of the competence committee.



Entrada is the system used to collect and track a resident’s EPAs at UBC.


Competence Committee

Competence Committees review each resident’s EPAs and other assessment data, then recommend promotion and/or further support for the resident.


Resident Promotion 

Resident promotion is when the Competence Committee recommends that the resident progress to the next stage. 

Royal College Exams for specialties and CFPC exams for family medicine occur near the end of training. Possible Assessment Methods used in postgraduate training programs include:

     – In Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) – Royal College

     – In Training Assessment Reports (ITARs) – Family Medicine

     – Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) – Royal College

     – Field Notes – Family Medicine

Click on the link if you would like more information on assessment in Family Medicine. 


Click on the following quick links below to go directly to assessment resources.