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Assessment should be considered at an early stage in curriculum planning and must strive for the best balance between validity (testing what is important) and reliability (providing inferences about the student's competence). The primary purpose of summative assessment in clinical medicine is to determine whether the candidate is competent. Dermatologists should use a range of summative assessment techniques that are appropriate for testing the curricular outcomes. These will include tests of application of knowledge and of clinical skills. All students should also receive regular formative assessment to allow them to measure their progress, but this is not used for summative decisions. We review the key issues surrounding assessment and some specific techniques that might be appropriate for testing learning outcomes in undergraduate dermatology, either in the context of a clinical placement or in an integrated assessment involving a number of specialities or systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical and Experimental Dermatology

Publication Date





441 - 446