Fundamentals of Assessment in Medical Education (FAME)

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Fundamentals of Assessment in Medical Education (FAME) is a joint project of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), which debuted at the 2007 Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) meeting in Trondheim, Norway, August 23-29. FAME is a collaborative activity following from FAIMER and NBME’s Memorandum of Understanding, signed in July 2006, to develop a framework for working together to improve global health professions education.

FAME is a basic-level course on educational assessment geared toward medical school faculty who are new to teaching and assessment and individuals who have assumed new responsibilities for assessment. In this first year, 22 registrants from 12 countries participated in FAME.

FAME is designed around two complementary dimensions of assessment themes (Test Design; Test Material Development; Standard Setting; and Scoring, Analysis, and Reporting) and assessment frames (Assessment of Knowledge and Reasoning, Assessment of Clinical Skills, Assessment of Workplace Performance, and Assessment of Programs).The course schedule includes one and one-half pre-conference days consisting of plenary and small group sessions. Small group work was organized around the four frames, culminating with each participant, together with faculty facilitators, preparing a conference itinerary to guide their attendance at AMEE conference sessions in a way that would supplement and extend their assessment knowledge and skills. During the conference, faculty and participants met daily over lunch to review sessions attended. At the conclusion of the AMEE conference, faculty and participants met again to sum up the course experience, address remaining questions, and discuss possible future study.

Course faculty are internationally-recognized experts drawn from the sponsoring organizations and from around the world. The Course Director is Tony LaDuca, Ph.D., formerly Principal Assessment Scientist at NBME. Other faculty included John (Jack) R. Boulet, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research, FAIMER; W. Dale Dauphinee, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.; Carol Morrison, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Scoring Services, NBME; David B. Swanson, Ph.D., Deputy Vice President of Professional Services, NBME; Helena Davies, M.B.Ch.B. (Hons), M.D., F.R.C.P.C.H., clinical academic in Medical Education/Late Effects (of Cancer therapy), University of Sheffield (Honorary Consultant, Sheffield Children’s Hospital); Ann King, M.A., Assessment Scientist in Measurement Consulting Services, NBME; Marina R. Mrouga. M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Director of Testing Board of Professional Competence Assessment, Ukraine; Ingrid Philibert, M.H.A., M.B.A., Senior Vice President, Department of Field Activities, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME); and Professor Dame Lesley Southgate, D.B.E., D.Sc., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.G.P., Professor of Medical Education, St. George’s Hospital Medical School. Leading the FAME faculty team are John Norcini, Ph.D., President of FAIMER, and Donald Melnick, M.D., President of NBME.

Evaluations have been received from 19 of the 22 participants. For the most part, these were very positive, but, as expected, several weaknesses were identified. Follow-up discussions with course faculty have confirmed several suggestions for improvements and these are being devised for a subsequent offering in 2008.