Authentic Assessment Instrument – Rationale Report

PIDP 3230 – Evaluation of Learning
Vancouver Community College
Kathryn Truant
June 26, 2017

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Module for Certified Dental Assistants (CDA’s): Unit One – The Perioperative Period
Clinical Performance Assessment
Rationale Report


The role of the Certified Dental Assistant during the perioperative period incorporates an observable sequence of events that must be performed (process) for surgery to occur (product). A checklist that documents this process is the best way to assess performance especially when the checklist items are numbered, and the CDA must follow a strict progression.

  1. Purpose of Assessment:

The purpose of the authentic assessment instrument for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Module for Certified Dental Assistants (CDA’s): Unit One – The Perioperative Period (Truant, 2016) is a measure of student’s performance in a clinically simulated episode of the perioperative period. The instrument is the clinical portion of Unit One of the module.

During the perioperative period, “the performance of a sequence of activities is as important as the product achieved” (Vancouver Community College, 2017), therefore, the process of the CDA’s role in the perioperative period is being measured to reflect learning outcomes. 

  1. Goals and Outcomes Reflected by the Assessment:

The clinical performance assessment reflects the goal “Demonstrate Perioperative Care of a Patient” (Truant, 2016), and all the outcomes of Unit One. The student will:

– Prepare patient for surgery (Preoperative Phase)

– Monitor patient during surgery (Intraoperative Phase)

– Recover patient after surgery (Postoperative Phase)

Successfully demonstrating the Perioperative Period deepens the CDA’s understanding of their role in patient safety and care in a surgical procedure.

  1. Selection of Type of Assessment Instrument:

The clinical performance assessment is a checklist. Checklists are used for assessing process; the instructor needs to see the learner progress through a series of observable steps. Checklists are easy to create and easy for the observer to document performance; this makes them useful for self-assessment and peer assessment. Further, “checklists are increasingly being used by surgical teams in the perioperative period to improve clinical care and increase patient safety” (Weiser & Berry, 2012, p.136). In healthcare, checklists are the widely recognized standards of practice.

  1. Validity and Reliability of Assessment Instrument:

The clinical performance assessment instrument demonstrates validity because it contains items that are taught in Unit One of the module; in fact, the checklist incorporates all the skills demonstrated. The instrument is reliable because the process measures student achievement which directly reflects learning outcomes; there are international standards of perioperative care that must be met to improve the safety of a patient. For example, the World Health Organization recommends that surgical teams adhere to routine surgical checklists; the clinical portion of Unit One is a modified version of the Surgical Safety Checklist (World Health Organization, 2009), and the checklist instrument mirrors the clinical portion of the course. Learners can apply this assessment instrument to their own professional practice.

  1. Scoring Scale to Measure Activity:

The checklist uses a scoring scale of YES or NO. If the student demonstrates a criteria item, the score will be YES, and if the student fails to demonstrate an item, the score will be NO. I use a yes/no statement of judgement because the assessment is team-based much like a real-life perioperative period checklist (for the purposes of patient safety and quality control); criteria needs to be observed and documented in a group setting. During the clinical performance assessment, groups of students use the checklist instrument to self-assess and peer-assess. Moreover, the yes/no scoring scale indicates a challenge-confirm instrument, as opposed to a read-do instrument, because of the serious nature of the perioperative period.

“Challenge-confirm checklists are somewhat more sophisticated, as they tend to be more formalized regarding structure and use. These checklists are usually employed by at least two individuals and are often incorporated into a formal process or task structure” (Weiser & Berry, 2012, p. 137).

  1. Value of Assessment Criteria:

All the criteria items on the clinical performance assessment instrument are of equal importance. Failure to demonstrate any of the criteria results in a breach of the strict and necessary sequence of the perioperative period. If an item is not demonstrated, the student cannot continue to the next item on the checklist. Each criterion items are critical.

  1. Rationale for Recommendation Section:

A clear indication of YES or NO if checklist is complete (ALL CRITERIA OBSERVED) is displayed at the bottom of the checklist. There is space for student and the observer to initial the recommendation so that both parties know if the clinical performance assessment was successful, or if a second attempt is needed.

  1. Rationale for Comments Section:

Regardless of the outcome of the clinical performance assessment, the observer can assist the learner. For example, even if a criterion is demonstrated, and a “yes” is documented as a statement of judgement, the observer can share helpful methods to improve future performance for another assessment attempt (if needed), or in professional practice. Alternately, the student can communicate to the observer/instructor methods on how to improve assessment. This creates a positive learning environment where input is valued.

  1. Rationale for Limit of Two Attempts:

Students are given two attempts to complete the checklist successfully. Success in the clinical performance assessment of Unit One is ensured because of the group validation strategies that are employed. In perioperative care, “checklist tasks and items must be associated with actions that allow for corrections and modifications prior to specific nonreversible events” (Weiser & Berry, 2012, p. 139). The student can use the assessment checklist as a reference. The observer can also provide feedback during each attempt to ensure compliance with known standards of care.

@ Please refer to my Resources page for works cited.