Assessment of professionalism: A consolidation of current thinking

John Goldie
Submitted: September, 2012

The assessment of professionalism is an evolving field. This review aims to consolidate current thinking. Assessment of professionalism has progressed from an initial focus on the development and attainment of professional identity, through identifying areas of deficiency, to the attainment of a set of identifiable positive attributes and behaviours. It is now beginning to recognise the challenge of assessing a multi-dimensional construct, looking beyond the measurement of behaviour to embrace a diversity of approaches. This review concludes that professionalism should be assessed longitudinally. It requires combinations of different approaches, assessing professionalism at individual, interpersonal and societal/institutional levels. Increasing the depth and the quality of reliability and validity of existing programmes in various contexts may be more appropriate than concentrating on developing new instruments. Increasing the number of tests and the number of relevant contexts will increase the reliability of the result. Similarly increasing the number of observers increases reliability. Feedback, encouraging reflection, can promote change in behaviour and identity formation.

  • Definitions & Frameworks