Incorporating evaluation into the learning environment from the very beginning of the experience is essential.

Here is a strategy to help you incorporate evaluation into your teaching.

Evaluation - Making it work

Evaluation is not just something that you do for an hour at the end of the experience, it is vitally linked to the entire experience. If this emphasis on process is ignored, problems are more likely to occur. Integrating evaluation throughout the rotation will make evaluation easier and more productive. Our G-R-A-D-E strategy can help you accomplish this. Click on each of the buttons to explore the process.

The G-R-A-D-E Strategy for Evaluation

G... Get Ready
  • Review course expectations
  • Review evaluation form
  • Consider unique opportunities/challenges of your site
  • What are your expectations for the learner?

G ... Get Ready

  • Before meeting your student, you should review a copy of the course expectations, goals and objectives, and the evaluation forms on our web site. Even if you have precepted for the clerkship, a brief review of the expectations can help you focus from the start.
  • It is useful to reflect, in advance, on your schedule for the period of the rotation and the status of your practice for that time period. If there is time when you (or your partners) will be away or if the rotation is during a particularly busy time for you, you may need to be more creative in scheduling time for feedback and evaluation.
  • Decide in advance what YOU want from the learner.

You might want to answer the following questions:

What are your goals for students as part of their clerkship experience? What do you want them to learn?
When does the student need to be in the office? What are your on-call expectations?
Do you want the student to write patient notes? If so, in what format?
What style of case presentation do you prefer?




R ... Review Expectations with the Learner
    • Meet very early in the experience
    • Determine the student's knowledge/skill level
    • Review: program goals, your goals, learner's goals
    • Describe the evaluation process

R ... Review Expectations

  • It is vital to review the expectations of the school and your own expectations with your student at the beginning of the rotation. You may wish to highlight specific methods by which these expectations can be met in your setting, or indicate that some goals may be challenging to meet (e.g. access to certain patient populations).

Note:Don't forget to solicit the student's expectations as well.

  • The student's knowledge and experience should also be determined at this time. This can vary significantly depending on the student's previous experiences and the rotations they have completed.

Note:It will be important for you to emphasize to the student that the Clinical Skills Inventory is not being used in an evaluative sense at this point, merely as a means of determining relevant areas of focus for the rotation.


  • This review meeting is also the time to discuss the evaluation process. Specifically, how and when do you plan to give feedback? How can the student give you feedback regarding whether the rotation is meeting his/her needs?




A ... Assess
  • Observe
  • Record
  • Provide feedback regularly
  • Have the learner self-assess

Assessment of your student's learning should be an ongoing process throughout the rotation.

Note:The assessment should be related to stated expectations that were discussed at the beginning of the educational experience.


  • There are several ways to assess your student: direct observation by you, observation by staff, feedback from patients, written feedback, reviewing charts, etc.
  • Briefly record observations. A note card in your pocket or quick notes slipped into a file folder can give you a quick way to jog your memory. This information can be used to provide more specific feedback at the end of the day and can be saved to help you remember what to include at the time of evaluation.
  • Regular feedback is important.. Timely, directed feedback will give your student the opportunity to improve and will give you a chance to observe their efforts and successes. By the same token, positive comments on a good performance, quality interactions with patients, etc. should not wait for an arbitrary scheduled time. Few things reinforce good behavior and growth like timely, positive feedback.
  • Encouraging learners to assess themselves promotes this important behavior and gives you valuable data on how they view their own performance.

Note:To encourage self-assessment you can ask the learner, "How do you think your encounter went with Mrs. ________?" before giving your own feedback.


How do you plan to conduct ongoing assessment of your student? List the methods in your notebook.


D ... Discuss Assessment at Mid-Point
    • Formal meeting
    • Learner and evaluator fill-out the form in advance
    • Compare evaluations together
    • Discuss differences and how expectations from both are being met
  • After you have charted a clear course for the learning experience by discussing expectations early and are tracking the learner's progress with an ongoing assessment, the next step is to do a formal evaluation at the mid-point of the learning experience. Time passes very quickly, but taking the time to do a mid-rotation evaluation creates a valuable opportunity to review the experience to-date, detect any unexpected issues, and plan for the remainder of the educational experience.

Note:It is important to schedule a specific time for this meeting. This separates this session from your ongoing feedback and defines it as a summary of performance to-date. It also provides an opportunity for you and your student to plan for the remainder of the educational experience. A minimum of 20 minutes is needed to ensure adequate time for discussion.

  • Both the preceptor and student should prepare for the mid-rotation evaluation. During this meeting, we suggest that you cover the following:
    • Briefly review the goals and objectives discussed during the first meeting.
      • How successful has the student been in achieving them?
      • Are there any areas where there may need to be additional focus?
      • Does the student need to be directed to any specific patient populations to gain any specific experiences?
    • Provide the student with your mid-month feedback form and review of progress to-date.
      • Ask the student for a self-assessment of how he/she is doing.
      • In reference to your feedback, be as behaviorally specific as possible regarding what the student is and is not doing well.
      • Mention specific areas of strength.
      • Mention specific areas needing improvement and discuss strategies the student can use to improve.
    • Ask for feedback from the student regarding the experience and suggestions for improvement.


E ... End with Evaluation
  • Complete final evaluation in a timely manner
  • Schedule sufficient time to meet with the learner
  • Support your evaluation with examples
  • Highlight items that can be worked on in the future

Note: It is important to schedule sufficient time for a formal, private meeting. Consider setting aside an hour.