Cate Scarff

Principal supervisor

Professor Steve Trumble (Department of Medical Education)

Associate supervisors

Mr Neville Chiavaroli (Department of Medical Education)
Associate Professor Margaret Bearman (Deakin University)

Project title

Assessor grades and feedback: Private thoughts and public judgements.

Abstract / overview of project

Medical trainees’ knowledge, skills and behaviours are assessed using a variety of methods. Clinical performance assessments, which include in-training and workplace-based assessments, form an important part of the program of assessments in many medical training programs. Conducted in real-life settings, with clinicians as assessors, they aim to provide trainees with high quality assessment messages, which they may use to improve their level of performance. However, many factors influence the message that is ultimately delivered. When an assessor has negative information to give, there may be a gap between their private thoughts and the information which is made public. This can result from a reluctance to deliver negative messages, termed the MUM effect – or keeping Mum about Undesirable Messages. In the medical education setting, this may have significant implications for both the trainee and their patients. This work considers how and why reluctance to deliver negative assessment messages manifests in dermatology training in Australia.