Clinically relevant assessment


When did you first introduce the innovation?

Less than 12 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

There have been recent innovative changes to the assessment process within 2 modules of the Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Practice. These assessments have been developed in response to feedback from students studying on the programme in conjunction with the programme team and key stakeholders. The programme is a one year Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Practice (PGDip); it’s a joint venture between Middlesex University and two NHS Mental Health Trusts. Graduate Mental Health Worker Trainees are employees of the Trusts and students at Middlesex University. The course was developed in response to national workforce developments to provide clinical personnel, from diverse backgrounds, with the skills and capabilities to provide mental health services for the future. It consists of six mental health modules alongside experience and assessment gained in 2 mental health clinical practice settings. Modules at level 6 and level 7.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

We needed to demonstrate clinical relevance by bridging the theory-practice gap often noted in clinical training and offer assessments that reinforce the development of transferable skills.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

Overview of changes:

The two module assessments have been changed from:

  • A 3000 word report on a service review/evaluation to a poster presentation of a service audit, presented to both academics and Trust Partners.
  • A 3000 word essay on a care plan to a viva addressing care provision of a simulated case study assessed by both academics and Trust partners

Stakeholder and student involvement: Prior to formalising the module assessment changes, ideas were shared with trainees from the previous cohort. Changes were also presented to and discussed with the programme team meeting and strategic steering group which has membership from both partner Trusts and senior academics.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

Anticipated Benefits:

We will encourage recognition of the relationship between theory and practice and highlight the importance of applied practical ability and as the outcomes and recommendations of the audit will be available to the Trust through the poster presentation, this assignment may prove beneficial to practice development more broadly.

Anticipated Challenges:

In the development of these assessments careful consideration has been given to resource intensiveness, for both the department and key stakeholders. Initial calculations suggest that existing marking workload will cover the new assessment input needed by academics however it is acknowledged this will be more resource intensive for a concentrated period rather than an extended one as is now.

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

The Future:

The programme is due for revalidation later this year and it is anticipated that these changes will be the catalyst for further development of assessment across the programme.

Key Learning:

  • Involve students and stakeholders in the early planning stages, prior to implementing changes to ensure that any changes will result in an improvement!
  • Attend to the small, niggling concerns early, they will point towards bigger issues and enable you to produce a final product of better quality.