Competency-based medical education (CBME), by definition, necessitates a robust and multifaceted assessment system. Assessment and the judgments or evaluations that arise from it are important at the level of the trainee, the program, and the public. When designing an assessment system for CBME, medical education leaders must attend to the context of the multiple settings where clinical training occurs. CBME further requires assessment processes that are more continuous and frequent, criterion-based, developmental, work-based where possible, use assessment methods and tools that meet minimum requirements for quality, use both quantitative and qualitative measures and methods, and involve the wisdom of group process in making judgments about trainee progress. Like all changes in medical education, CBME is a work in progress. Given the importance of assessment and evaluation for CBME, the medical education community will need more collaborative research to address several major challenges in assessment, including "best practices" in the context of systems and institutional culture and how to best to train faculty to be better evaluators. Finally, we must remember that expertise, not competence, is the ultimate goal. CBME does not end with graduation from a training program, but should represent a career that includes ongoing assessment.
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