How can we better assess clinical reasoning skills in students?

As a part of the NBME Assessment Alliance, the Creative Communities bring together medical educators, medical school staff, learners and NBME staff. The first of these Communities focuses on Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) for Clinical Reasoning.

In recent surveys, respondents have told NBME that educators value OSCEs that teach and assess clinical reasoning, and that there are several areas through which OSCEs can be enhanced.

Knowing how integral collaboration needed to be to the process, our new Assessment Alliance initiative launched our first Creative Community, focused on OSCE for Clinical Reasoning to collectively develop solutions to address the issue areas pointed out in those surveys, and better promote and measure clinical reasoning using school-based OSCEs. Through this Creative Community, we hope to identify and develop incremental solutions that will:

  1. Enhance the development, characterization and assessment of learner clinical reasoning skills
  2. Present patient groups without bias or stereotypes
  3. Minimize group differences in learner outcomes
  4. Enable all institutions to better support learner skill development across the continuum of medical education and training

If you have questions or want to get involved in the next Creative Community, fill out our contact form here or reach out to

Medical education needs to support the advancement of skills and behaviors alongside knowledge, so students can develop as complete physicians, ready to take on patient care. We’re rethinking measurement to facilitate this evolution, but we can’t do it without new perspectives and ideas.