Despite considerable evidence recognizing the importance of learners' perceptions of the assessment process, there is little literature depicting the participants' experience. We aim to capture these perceptions in order to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a competency-based assessment system. Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine has implemented a learner-centered portfolio assessment system built around competency standards and continuous formative feedback. Promotion of students is based upon their feedback-supported portfolio essays, but feedback itself is individualized and formative in nature under the umbrella of the competencies. Importantly, there are no grades or ranking awarded for the competencies or at promotion. Four students share personal reflections of their experience to illuminate themes from the subjective experience of the learner and to understand how to align the learners' interests with the requirements of an assessment program.
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