Engaging educators and students in the national roll-out of a new assessment tool (COMPASS).
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This paper presents key results of an evaluation of a project (funded by ALTC), that led the integration of a newly developed competency based assessment tool (COMPASS™) within all 13 speech pathology education programs nationally. As part of the roll-out process, workshops were provided to close to 1,000 speech pathology clinical educators and students were introduced to the new tool through their lectures and tutorials. In order to provide formative feedback in the early stages of the project (end 2006 – early 2007); a questionnaire (designed to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data) was used following the first 6 workshops (214 educators) and after the first lectures to students at 2 universities (145 students). Most educators (95-97%) and students (74-85%) reported understanding the main concepts that inform key components of COMPASSTM (behavioural descriptors, generic competencies, and use of the Visual Analogue Scale). Qualitative feedback indicated a need for further support in relation to understanding the need for direct observation and the use of the Visual Analogue Scale. Toward the completion of the project (end 2007 – early 2008), a similar questionnaire was distributed to clinical educators (33 respondents) and to students in 3 universities (76 respondents). Results continued to be positive for understanding of main concepts for educators (79-100%) and for students (75-92%). An important finding was the close similarity between educators and students in relation to their understandings about the tool, the areas in which they reported wanting more support/training, and the ways in which they would like to obtain further experience. The implications of these findings for the further embedding of the new assessment tool are discussed.