Evaluation of assessment in the context of work-based learning: Qualitative perspectives of new graduates

Palermo, Claire, Chung, Alexandra, Beck, Eleanor, Ash, Susan, Capra, Sandra, Truby, Helen, & Jolly, Brian (2015) Evaluation of assessment in the context of work-based learning: Qualitative perspectives of new graduates. Nutrition and Dietetics, 72(2), pp. 143-149.

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Evaluation or assessment of competence is an important step to ensure the safety and efficacy of health professionals, including dietitians. Most competency-based assessment studies are focussed on valid and reliable methods of assessment for the preparation of entry-level dietitians, few papers have explored student dietitians’ perceptions of these evaluations. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of recent graduates from accredited nutrition and dietetics training programs in Australia. It also aimed to establish the relevance of competency-based assessment to adequately prepare them for entry-level work roles.


A purposive sample of newly-graduated dietitians with a range of assessment experiences and varied employment areas was recruited. A qualitative approach, using in-depth interviews with 13 graduates, with differing assessment experiences was undertaken. Graduates were asked to reflect upon their competency-based assessment experiences whilst a student. Data was thematically analysed by multiple authors.


Four themes emerged from the data analysis:

(i) Transparency and consistency are critical elements of work-based competency assessment.

(ii) Students are willing to take greater responsibility in their assessment process.

(iii) Work-based competency assessment prepares students for employment.

(iv) The relationship between students and their assessors can impact on the student experience and their assessment performance.


Understanding this unique perspective of students can improve evaluation of future health professionals and assist in designing valid competency-based assessment approaches.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 76501
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: work-based learning, qualitative research, HERN, new graduates, dietetics, competency assessment
DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12126
ISSN: 1747-0080
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Medicine Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy (130209)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Wiley & Blackwell Publishing
Deposited On: 06 Oct 2014 22:44
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 16:18

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