September 2018 Hot Topics

Failure to Fail: Exploring the Complexities of Clinical Assessment

Dr. Glenn Regehr

Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm


  • LSC 1312 (host venue)
  • DHCC 2262
  • NHSC 9-374
  • RJH CA 011



Although field-based clinical assessments should be an excellent tool for documenting clinical competence, research and anecdotal evidence suggests that they are of poor reliability and validity, and do not effectively identify clinical students and residents who might be in trouble. This hot topic session will examine this phenomenon of the “failure to fail”. We will use a variety of perspectives including cognitive, social, systems and cultural lenses to explore the complexities of, and barriers to, effective clinical assessment. Links to the recent movement in health professions toward competency-based clinical education (in particular Competency by Design) will be considered.


  1. Describe the complexities of clinical assessment from several perspectives
  2. Discuss the theoretical and practical relevance of these issues to competency-based clinical education
  3. Identify literature relevant to this topic


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 event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by UBC CPD. You may claim a maximum of 6.0 (1.5 per session) hours (credits are automatically calculated). This Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 6.0 (1.5 per session) Mainpro+ credits. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

Accredited by UBC CPD