On the issue of costs in programmatic assessment

Cornelis van der Vleuten*, Sylvia Heeneman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Programmatic assessment requires labour and cost intensive activities such as feedback in a quantitative and qualitative form, a system of learner support in guiding feedback uptake and self-directed learning, and a decision-making arrangement that includes committees of experts making a holistic professional judgment while using due process measures to achieve trustworthy decisions. This can only be afforded if we redistribute the resources of assessment in a curriculum. Several strategies are suggested. One is to introduce progress testing as a replacement for costly cognitive assessment formats in modules. In addition, all assessments should be replaced by assessment formats that are maximally aligned with the learning tasks. For performance-based assessment, OSCEs should be sparsely used, while education and work-embedded assessment should be maximized as part of the routine of ongoing instruction and assessment. Information technology may support affordable feedback strategies, as well as the creation of a paper trail on performance. By making more dramatic choices in the way we allocate resources to assessment, the cost-intensive activities of programmatic assessment may be realized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number303
Pages (from-to)303–307
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives on Medical Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Programmatic assessment
  • Cost
  • Resources
  • WORK


Dive into the research topics of 'On the issue of costs in programmatic assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this