Skip navigation

Using portfolios to assess competency

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:

Here is a positive study on portfolios, from the latest issue of Advances in Health Sciences Education Theory and Practice:

O'sullivan PS, Reckase MD, McClain T, Savidge MA, Clardy JA. Demonstration of portfolios to assess competency of residents. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract 2004; 9(4):309-323.

Abstract: Residency educators are identifying approaches to measure resident competence. Portfolios are well suited since they require work already completed as part of patient care where competency must be demonstrated. This paper describes assessment of the reliability and validity of portfolios in a psychiatry residency program. This was a cross-sectional study across 4years of residency education. Using guidelines, 18 residents assembled portfolios containing five entries chosen from 1! 3 skills. Trained raters scored the portfolios. Residents and faculty were interviewed about their perceptions. Generalizability results indicated five entries and two raters were sufficient for relative decisions. Six entries or a third rater would be sufficient for absolute decisions. Portfolio scores tended to improve with years of training and correlated with psychiatric knowledge but not clinical performance. Residents and faculty identified benefits to assembling a portfolio. Portfolios incorporate tasks embedded in the residency to provide evidence of resident competency. The results support that the score is reliable and valid.


To comment on this post, click on "comments" below. To receive a weekly update, e-mail Sue.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.