Working with doctors Working for patients

Theme 5: Developing and implementing curricula and assessments

Purpose

The GMC’s statutory responsibilities for regulating curricula and assessments are different according to the stage of training. This theme is about making sure medical school and postgraduate curricula and assessments are developed and implemented to meet GMC outcome or approval requirements.

Responsibility

The GMC sets the learning outcomes required of medical students when they graduate and the standards that medical schools must meet when teaching, assessing and providing learning opportunities for medical students.

Medical schools develop and implement curricula and assessments to make sure that medical graduates can demonstrate these outcomes. Medical schools, in partnership with LEPs, also make sure that clinical placements give medical students the learning opportunities they need to meet these outcomes. Medical schools are responsible for the quality of assessments including those done on their behalf. Medical schools make sure only medical students who demonstrate all the learning outcomes are permitted to graduate.

Colleges, faculties, specialty associations and other organisations develop postgraduate curricula and assessments, and the GMC approves them against the standards for curricula and assessment systems.

Postgraduate deaneries and LETBs make sure that LEPs are meeting the requirements for delivering postgraduate curricula and assessments, and that training programmes and placements enable the doctor in training to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.

Standards

S5.1 Medical school curricula and assessments are developed and implemented so that medical students are able to achieve the learning outcomes required for graduates.

S5.2 Postgraduate curricula and assessments are implemented so that doctors in training are able to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.

Requirements

Undergraduate curricula

R5.1 Medical school curricula must be planned and show how students can meet the outcomes for graduates across the whole programme.

R5.2 The development of medical school curricula must be informed by medical students, doctors in training, educators, employers, other health and social care professionals and patients, families and carers.

R5.3 Medical school curricula must give medical students:

  1. a early contact with patients that increases in duration and responsibility as students progress through the programme
  2. b experience in a range of specialties, in different settings, with the diversity of patient groups that they would see when working as a doctor
  3. c the opportunity to support and follow patients through their care pathway
  4. d the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the needs of patients from diverse social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, with a range of illnesses or conditions and with protected characteristics
  5. e learning opportunities that integrate basic and clinical science, enabling them to link theory and practice
  6. f the opportunity to choose areas they are interested in studying while demonstrating the learning outcomes required for graduates
  7. g learning opportunities enabling them to develop generic professional capabilities
  8. h at least one student assistantship during which they assist a doctor in training with defined duties under appropriate supervision, and lasting long enough to enable the medical student to become part of the team. The student assistantship must help prepare the student to start working as a foundation doctor and must include exposure to out-of-hours on-call work.

Undergraduate programmes and clinical placements

R5.4 Medical school programmes must give medical students:

  1. a sufficient practical experience to achieve the learning outcomes required for graduates
  2. b an educational induction to make sure they understand the curriculum and how their placement fits within the programme
  3. c the opportunity to develop their clinical, medical and practical skills and generic professional capabilities through technology enhanced learning opportunities, with the support of teachers, before using skills in a clinical situation
  4. d experiential learning in clinical settings, both real and simulated, that increases in complexity in line with the curriculum
  5. e the opportunity to work and learn with other health and social care professionals and students to support interprofessional multidisciplinary working
  6. f placements that enable them to become members of the multidisciplinary team, and to allow team members to make reliable judgements about their abilities, performance and progress.

Undergraduate assessment

R5.5 Medical schools must assess medical students against the learning outcomes required for graduates at appropriate points. Medical schools must be sure that medical students can meet all the outcomes before graduation. Medical schools must not grant dispensation to students from meeting the standards of competence required for graduates.

R5.6 Medical schools must set fair, reliable and valid assessments that allow them to decide whether medical students have achieved the learning outcomes required for graduates.

R5.7 Assessments must be mapped to the curriculum and appropriately sequenced to match progression through the education and training pathway.

R5.8 Assessments must be carried out by someone with appropriate expertise in the area being assessed, and who has been appropriately selected, supported and appraised. They are responsible for honestly and effectively assessing the medical student’s performance and being able to justify their decision.

Postgraduate curricula

The development of postgraduate curricula is addressed in the standards for curricula and assessment.

Postgraduate training programmes and clinical placements

R5.9 Postgraduate training programmes must give doctors in training:

  1. a training posts that deliver the curriculum and assessment requirements set out in the approved curriculum
  2. b sufficient practical experience to achieve and maintain the clinical or medical competences (or both) required by their curriculum
  3. c an educational induction to make sure they understand their curriculum and how their post or clinical placement fits within the programme
  4. d the opportunity to develop their clinical, medical and practical skills and generic professional capabilities through technology enhanced learning opportunities, with the support of trainers, before using skills in a clinical situation
  5. e the opportunity to work and learn with other members on the team to support interprofessional multidisciplinary working
  6. f regular, useful meetings with their clinical and educational supervisors
  7. g placements that are long enough to allow them to become members of the multidisciplinary team, and to allow team members to make reliable judgements about their abilities, performance and progress
  8. h a balance between providing services and accessing educational and training opportunities. Services will focus on patient needs, but the work undertaken by doctors in training should support learning opportunities wherever possible. Education and training should not be compromised by the demands of regularly carrying out routine tasks or out-of-hours cover that do not support learning and have little educational or training value.

Postgraduate assessment

R5.10 Assessments must be mapped to the requirements of the approved curriculum and appropriately sequenced to match doctors’ progression through their education and training.

R5.11 Assessments must be carried out by someone with appropriate expertise in the area being assessed, and who has been appropriately selected, supported and appraised. They are responsible for honestly and effectively assessing the doctor in training’s performance and being able to justify their decision. Educators must be trained and calibrated in the assessments they are required to conduct.

Reasonable adjustments

R5.12 Organisations must make reasonable adjustments to help disabled learners meet the standards of competence in line with the Equality Act 2010, although the standards of competence themselves cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustments may be made to the way that the standards are assessed or performed (except where the method of performance is part of the competence to be attained), and to how curricula and clinical placements are delivered.