When our school organized the curriculum around a core set of medical student competencies in 2004, it was clear that more numerous and more varied student assessments were needed. To oversee a systematic approach to the assessment of medical student competencies, the Office of College-wide Assessment was established, led by the Associate Dean of College-wide Assessment. The mission of the Office is to ‘facilitate the development of a seamless assessment system that drives a nimble, competency-based curriculum across the spectrum of our educational enterprise.’ The Associate Dean coordinates educational initiatives, developing partnerships to solve common problems, and enhancing synergy within the College. The Office also works to establish data collection and feedback loops to guide rational intervention and continuous curricular improvement. Aside from feedback, implementing a systems approach to assessment provides a means for identifying performance gaps, promotes continuity from undergraduate medical education to practice, and offers a rationale for some assessments to be located outside of courses and clerkships. Assessment system design, data analysis, and feedback require leadership, a cooperative faculty team with medical education expertise, and institutional support. The guiding principle is ‘Better Data for Teachers, Better Data for Learners, Better Patient Care.’ Better data empowers faculty to become change agents, learners to create evidence-based improvement plans and increases accountability to our most important stakeholders, our patients
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