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Consideration of assessment of IPE raises a number of questions.

We know that for many learners, assessment drives learning and what is assessed in the formal curriculum is more highly valued. So it seems logical that IPE activities should be assessed. But, is IPE assessable? And if we do decide that we can, and we should, then:

  • how can IPE be assessed equitably, reliably and with validity?
  • how can we develop assessments that work across different courses and professional groups and that tie in with different learning outcomes and assessment patterns?
  • what should be in these assessments, what form should they take and where in the curricula should they be situated?
  • who assesses IPE?
  • should these be discipline-based teachers or do we need specialist IPE teachers?


With all these questions, it is unsurprising that, although many IPE initiatives exist in terms of learning activities, there has been little written about assessment. 

In thinking about how we might design meaningful assessments, a starting point is to consider the learning outcomes as part of ‘constructive alignment’. Constructive alignment is where all aspects of the curriculum – learning outcomes, educational or learning objectives, course design, teaching and learning activities, assessment and evaluation – are aligned so that there is a clear relationship between all aspects.

The CAIPE IPE values and outcomes as they might be applied to individual learners/programmes (CAIPE, 2011 are set out below.


Interprofessional education  



Focuses on the needs of individuals, families and communities to improve their quality of care, health outcomes and wellbeing 

Keeping best practice central throughout all teaching and learning 

Applies equal opportunities within and between the professions and all with whom they learn and work 

Acknowledging but setting aside differences in power and status between professions 

Respects individuality, difference and diversity within and between the professions and all with whom they learn and work

Utilising distinctive contributions to learning and practice

Sustains the identity and expertise of each profession

Presenting each profession positively and distinctively



Engenders interprofessional capability

Devising outcome-led learning delivering collaborative capabilities                    

Enhances practice within each profession

Enabling each profession to improve its practice to complement that of others     


A more detailed competency framework can be found on the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative site. These competencies provide a useful guide for establishing learning, teaching and assessment activities. The competencies are set out under six headings:

  • Role clarification
  • Team functioning
  • Interprofessional conflict resolution
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Patient/Client/Family/Community-Centred Care
  • Collaborative leadership  


Thinking Points
  • How can the outcomes defined above help you to design assessments? Or do you need more specific learning outcomes?
  • What help do your own professional standards or regulatory body curricula give you in developing IPE activities and assessments?


Assessment needs to reflect the approach and learning interventions that are in place, and teachers need to think carefully about what is actually being assessed. Many of the issues in IPE concern attitudes, beliefs and teamworking, always more difficult to assess than content or skills … but there is an emerging literature around this in healthcare professions education, see Reeves (2011).


Thinking Point

The Workplace assessment module provides more information on common assessments. Many of these (such as multi-source feedback) involve different groups of health professionals assessing one another. How do you think this shift reflects interprofessional education? Is it IPE or something else? What are the implications (if any) for different health professionals assessing one another? How could you better prepare for such assessments?



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