Combining course- and program-level outcomes assessments through embedded performance assessments at key courses: A proposal based on the experience from a Japanese dental education program

Kayo Matsushita, Kazuhiro Ono, Yugo Saito


This paper addresses how to combine the course- and program-level assessments and presents a new method illustrated by a case of dental education program in Japan. Performance assessments are considered effective for evaluating knowledge integration and higher-order skills, while placing a burden on faculty, hence their feasibility as the program-level assessment is regarded lower than standardized tests or questionnaire surveys. We have developed several performance assessments at the course level, such as Modified Triple Jump for the PBL course. Based on this experience, we propose Pivotal Embedded Performance Assessment (PEPA) as a method for combining assessment at the course and program levels. The method limits the range of performance assessment to key courses directly linked to program goals and placed at the critical juncture points of curriculum, while entrusting the assessment of other courses to expert judgment of individual teachers. PEPA consists of the following procedures: systematization of curriculum and selection of key courses; design and implementation of performance assessments by a faculty team; setting passing criteria with incorporating the function of formative assessment; certifying the completion of the degree program. PEPA thus enables maintaining assessment feasibility and compatibility with a credit system, while ensuring assessment validity and reliability.

Received: 27 September 2018
Accepted: 13 November 2018
Published online: 29 November 2018


performance assessment; embedded assessment; program-level assessment; curriculum; PBL (problem-based learning); dental education

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