DOI: 10.3390/educsci14010029 ISSN: 2227-7102

A Transparent Curriculum Design and Capability-Based Assessment Portfolio Facilitates Self-Directed Learning

Catherine M. Dean, Hayley Harris, Hugh P. McNeil, Chris Hughes
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

This paper describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of a medical degree which uses a capability framework, programmatic assessment, and an assessment portfolio to facilitate feedback literacy and self-directed learning. The Macquarie MD outcomes are expressed through four graduate capabilities, each having two aspects and defined expectation standards for the two two-year stages. Assessments of capability development and Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are embedded in each stage. Assessment data are stored in the student’s online portfolio with data summarised on dashboards presented chronologically and mapped to capability aspects and EPAs. A retrospective audit of curricula and graduate portfolios (n = 104) was undertaken and analysed descriptively. All students met the expectations for capability aspects and EPAs. All students voluntarily undertook additional assessments to strengthen their evidence for capability development and entrustment. On average, students completed 119% (SD = 6) of the required number of assessments: 107% (SD = 3) and 130% (SD = 11) for Stages 1 and 2, respectively. Using a capability framework to explicitly communicate the constructive alignment between capability and EPA outcomes at the degree, stage, and assessment level, as well as student access to future-focused performance standards and all their assessment data, is a powerful way to facilitate self-directed learning.

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