Assessment and Assessment Tools

See also the National Foundation Programme website Curriculum & Assessment webpage and ARCP webpage, along with our Assessment and Appraisal FAQs

Assessment is a crucial component of the Foundation Programme Curriculum. It is the duty of the foundation doctor to demonstrate engagement with the assessment process. This means undertaking appropriate assessments and documenting them in the e-portfolio. Individual assessments are formative and represent an important opportunity for learning and reflection on practice. The end of placement/final supervisor’s report will draw on the outcomes of multiple assessments. Participation in the assessment process, coupled with reflective practice, is the best way to demonstrate progression towards the outcomes expected of the programme.

Purpose of Assessment

  • to highlight achievements and areas of excellence
  • to emphasise the need for feedback
  • to supply and demonstrate evidence of progression linked to the Curriculum
  • to identify doctors who may need additional help.

Assessment Methodology

Continuous Assessment

The assessment tools are formative, thus designed to help foundation doctors improve their practice. Foundation doctors are expected to demonstrate improvement and progression during each placement. Therefore, they should arrange for these assessments to be evenly spread throughout each placement. Improvement in clinical practice will only happen if regular assessment leads to constructive feedback. Thus continuous assessment is a fundamental part of the Foundation Programme.

The educational/clinical supervisor’s overall assessment and judgement of the foundation doctor must be based on multiple assessments by many observers. Within any placement an individual assessor is unlikely to build up a coherent picture of competences, let alone performance of an individual foundation doctor. Therefore the local Foundation Programme Director should ensure that there is a local faculty responsible for forming a balanced judgement of a doctor’s performance supported by the assessment results. Such an approach will prevent any individual having undue influence over a doctor’s progression. To ensure fairness and equality of opportunity, all assessments will be subject to monitoring.

Self Assessment

Foundation doctors have a personal responsibility to make self assessment an integral part of their professional life. It is good educational practice for this to be stated clearly and discussed fully during induction.

Foundation doctors, with the support of their supervisor(s), are responsible for arranging performance appraisals, having the outcomes recorded and documenting ways to improve.


The e-portfolio is the record of a foundation doctor’s assessments, achievements and other evidence demonstrating completed outcomes as specified by the GMC. The deanery will specify which e-portfolio is in use. It is essential that foundation doctors populate the e-portfolio with assessments, achievements and other evidence as it will be used to inform Sign Off. It may also be used during interviews for appointment to specialty training.


  • assessors must be trained in giving feedback, understand the role of the tool being used, assessment methodology and be competent in the competence they are assessing
  • most assessors should be supervising consultants, GP principals and doctors in training who are more senior than the foundation doctor, experienced nurses or allied health professional colleagues
  • foundation doctors should usually agree the timing and the clinical case/problem with the assessor
  • assessors should also carry out unscheduled assessments.