February 2020 What I’m Thinking About…

Entrustment Scales and Competency Committees: Rethinking Legitimate Data and Sound Procedures for Assessment Decisions

Drs. Jennifer Tam & Anneke van Enk

Date: February 4, 2020

Time: 12:00 – 1:30PM

  • formal presentations and discussion from 12:00 – 1:30pm, with a pause at 1:00pm for those who need to leave early
  • feel free to bring a bagged lunch


  • LSC CMR 1312 (host venue)
  • DHCC 2262
  • SHY E404
  • NHSC 9-374

Remote Access: Additional access options are available. Please email ches.communications@ubc.ca to request remote access.


While good assessment often continues to be cast in positivist terms of reliability and validity, the concept of entrustment entails new, post-positivist ways of thinking about evaluation in HPE. In directly asking assessors to gauge how safe it is for a learner to carry out tasks without supervision—a “real world” goal of medical education—it calls for the incorporation of personal experiences, gestalts, and gut feelings in assessment.

In this presentation, we look at how long-standing emphases on objective and systematic data and decision-making procedures are unsettled and rendered more complex by entrustment’s interest in the role of expert judgment and contextual authenticity. And we ask, how should medical education respond? Should we, for example, record assessors’ intuitions —often difficult to explain in words—about learners they work with as part of legitimate assessment data? Should we encourage assessors to share anecdotes about and impressions of learners in competency committee meetings?


We aim to hi-light tensions in current uptakes of entrustment, specifically tensions around what constitute legitimate data and sound procedures for decision making. More concretely, we unpack some of the challenges relating to existing scales used to collect data and to procedural policies regulating competency committees. In doing so, we hope to set the stage for further discussion about revised bases for decision making in HPE assessment and about tools and policies that would more effectively enact these

Accredited by UBC CPD



The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 18 (1.5 per session) Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity.

RCPSC Accreditation

What I’m Thinking About… is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.