Facilitating the successful translation of undergraduate theoretical knowledge into safe and appropriate postgraduate clinical practice represents a major challenge in education. The assessment of undergraduate medical, nursing and pharmacy students’ performance in the clinical setting has hence become a key priority for educators. Using performance based assessment facilitates the assessment of what a student does in practice as opposed to what they know. The Mini-CEX (mini clinical evaluation exercise) is one method used to assess the performance of students in a clinical context. It incorporates the components of both assessment and feedback and is based on the direct observation of a student patient consultation by a tutor.
The following are examples of 2 undergraduate medical students performing a Mini-CEX in a general practice setting and consist of two clinical scenarios assessing the competency of history taking. An actress with prior experience of role-playing within an undergraduate medical teaching environment acts as the patient and was given detailed briefing on the clinical scenario. A GP acts as the assessor. Both the students and the assessor were blind to the clinical scenarios.
1. In a group mark the student using the following form
Please tick a grade for each area assessed
Please award an overall total score for the Mini CEX
Total score (Mark out of 20): /20
Observations & Comments – please record specific examples to use for feedback:
2. Compare and discuss your results
- Miller GE. The assessment of clinical skills/competence/performance. Acad Med. 1990 Sep;65(9 Suppl): S63-7
- Dent J, Harden R. A practical guide for medical teachers. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2009
- Norcini JJ, Blank LL, Duffy FD, Fortna GS. The mini-CEX: a method for assessing clinical skills. Ann Intern Med. 2003 Mar 18;138(6):476-81