Book Review: Assessing Competence in Professional Performance across Disciplines and Professions

By | 10th January 2017

Book Review: Assessing Competence in Professional Performance across Disciplines and Professions With a foreword by Lee S. Shulman

Innovation and Change in Professional Education (13th Edition)
Paul F. Wimmers & Marcia Mentkowski. Switzerland: Springer, 2016
488 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-30062-7

This 13th volume, Assessing Competence in Professional Performance across Disciplines and Professions is part of a series dedicated to introducing innovation and discussing issues in professional programs. Each book focuses on a different theme with the assessment of competence in professional education is the focus of this edition.

The book opens with a foreword by Lee S. Shulman then presents twenty-one chapters by various authors. The content of each chapter is similarly organized with headings and subheadings. Each chapter begins with an Abstract, followed by a box titled Takeaway which highlights the main ideas of the chapter. The chapter concludes with References preceded by a box titled Issues/Questions for Reflection which contains thought-provoking considerations. The first and last chapters are introductory and concluding chapters by the editors. The chapters’ in-between each focus on a subject in more depth. Some chapters are literature reviews while others present case studies and empirical research, such as questionnaires.

The grouping of similar themed chapters provides structure. The first three chapters introduce performance assessment. Chapters four through eleven present issues supported by research on a particular discipline. Chapter eight is the exception, which discusses the capability of undergraduate students’ across disciplines to transfer learned knowledge and skills across courses and time. Chapter four and six discusses the reliability, validity, and authenticity of assessments to real world applicability in medical programs. Chapter five focuses on the importance of professional competence-based assessment in engineering programs. Chapter seven focuses on the inclusion of performance assessment in law programs. Chapter nine addresses the importance of feedback and consistence rubrics in nursing programs. Chapter ten and eleven focus on the assessment of critical thinking in health care professionals. Chapters twelve through fifteen address issues in teamwork from effective assessment to the psychometrics to a literature review and research into what comprises a collaboration in healthcare professionals. Chapter sixteen and seventeen focuses on skill development of faculty, for example basic concepts of student assessment and leadership training and assessment. Chapter eighteen through twenty present various issues. Chapter eighteen discusses whether programs in the medical field should offer training in being humane. Chapter nineteen compares and contrasts assessment in time-based programs verses competency-based programs.

Chapter twenty deliberates the development and implementation of the Uniform Bar Examination. In the last chapter, Paul Wimmers and Marcia Mentkowski tie together the main themes to discuss the assessment required to prepare graduates of professional programs successfully enter the work force.
This book is of interest to the faculty of undergraduate and graduate professional programs across many disciplines. In particular, chapter recommendations that highlight additions and changes in the curriculum may be of importance to faculty and education coordinators. In addition, case studies and results of research focus on medical, law, engineering, and nursing programs. Faculty of these programs may find the topics discussed most relevant and applicable, although the concepts discussed may generalize to multiple disciplines.

Review by: Anureet Gill, Graduate Student, Concordia University of Edmonton