Putting students in the driver’s seat by using an assessment portfolio available 24/7

Catherine Dean, Hayley Harris, Chris Hughes, Domenico Garzo, Patrick McNeil

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Constructive alignment of course, unit and assessment components to each other and to regulatory, curricula and professional requirements underpins best practice in course design. However, this alignment is often invisible to students as universities focus on units. This project aimed to describe the development and implementation of a course-level assessment portfolio in the Macquarie MD and to quantify the amount of self-directed learning and the graduate outcomes.

The course is organised into two 2-year stages. Outcomes are expressed through a capability framework comprising four graduate capabilities, each having two aspects and defined expectation standards for each stage. Most assessments are graded on a 4-point letter scale anchored to end-of-stage expectations. The assessment of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) is embedded in each stage and entrustment is quantified by the level of supervision required. Assessment data is stored in the student’s online portfolio built using the Office 365 tools and accessible 24/7, with data summarised on dashboards presented chronologically and mapped to capability aspects and EPAs. Traffic lights provide an overview of development across the course. Portfolio data were analysed descriptively.

Data were extracted from the portfolios of all (104) graduates of the course. All students undertook additional assessments to strengthen their evidence for capability and EPA development. On average, students completed 119% (SD 6) of the required number of assessments and 107% (SD 3) and 130% (SD 11) for stages 1 and 2 respectively. Additionally, all students met all expectations for capability aspects and EPAs.

Using a capability framework to explicitly communicate the constructive alignment - between course, unit and assessment level - as well as giving students access to their assessment data is a powerful way to put students in the drivers’ seat. Adoption of this approach in other health courses may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
EventAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) 2023 Conference - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 26 Jun 202329 Jun 2023


ConferenceAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) 2023 Conference
CityGold Coast


  • capability development
  • self directed learning
  • programmatic assessment
  • feedback literacy
  • assessment portfolio


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