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Outcomes-based models in higher education recognize the key role of standards-based assessment in fulfilling the goal of curriculum alignment. However, writing clear yet nuanced descriptors or specifications is a continuing challenge. We examine an illustrative case of an assessment expertise project in dentistry at the University of Hong Kong to examine the role of standards descriptors within an overarching, programme-level assessment strategy. The project centred on examiner judgement during in situ clinical assessment tasks. Key to validity and reliability is making such judgements defensible, visible and accessible to students and examiners. Articulation of latent expertise and ‘connoisseur’ use of clinical performance criteria addressed the notion of accessibility. Connoisseurship extends beyond knowing the stated or explicitly defined criteria, to ‘know-how’ in using explicit, latent and meta-criteria. Central to the approach taken was how standards-based assessment can be enacted in clinical education by making latent, expert judgement practices explicit and adopting more flexible approaches than the traditional ‘rubric’. Building a programme-level standardsbased assessment culture draws upon dialogues across disciplines – both clinical and educational. Further research needs to illuminate professional judgement as process as well as the evaluative knowledge that is the source of assessment criteria and standards.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Book Chapter

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