Validity Evidence for Assessing Entrustable Professional Activities during Undergraduate Medical Education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose To explore validity evidence for the use of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) as an assessment framework in medical education. Method Formative assessments on the 13 Core EPAs for entering residency were collected for 4 cohorts of students over a 9- to 12-month longitudinal integrated clerkship as part of the Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum pilot at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The students requested assessments from clinical supervisors based on direct observation while engaging in patient care together. Based on each observation, the faculty member rated the student on a 9-point scale corresponding to levels of supervision required. Six EPAs were included in the present analyses. Student ratings were depicted as curves describing their performance over time; regression models were employed to fit the curves. The unit of analyses for the learning curves was observations rather than individual students. Results (1) Frequent assessments on EPAs provided a developmental picture of competence consistent with the negative exponential learning curve theory; (2) This finding was true across a variety of EPAs and across students; and (3) The time to attain the threshold level of performance on the EPA for entrustment varied by student and EPA. Conclusions The results provide validity evidence for an EPA-based program of assessment. Students assessed using multiple observations performing the Core EPAs for entering residency demonstrate classic developmental progression toward the desired level of competence resulting in entrustment decisions. Future work with larger data samples will allow further psychometric analyses of assessment of EPAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S70-S75
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number7S
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 by the Association of American Medical Colleges.


  • Clinical Competence
  • Competency-Based Education
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Educational Measurement/methods
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics/education
  • Reproducibility of Results

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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