National survey: Developing a common approach to grading of practice in pre-registration midwifery
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This paper presents the final phase of a national project exploring grading of practice in programmes leading to registration as a midwife in the United Kingdom. The aim was to develop a generic framework for grading practice, enhancing standardisation while enabling flexibility in application of current and new educational standards. A mixed method on-line survey considered existing practice assessment tools, factors contributing to robust and reliable assessment and perceptions of two assessment tools developed by the research team: a ‘Lexicon Framework’ and ‘Rubric’, which were tested through scenarios. Participants included 170 midwifery and nursing academics, clinicians and students, representing 20 universities in the UK. Seven key themes emerged, from which an ‘Evidence Based Model for Professional Practice Assessment’ was developed. The proposed tools were overall positively evaluated and demonstrated a good level of reliability. A national tool to standardise midwifery practice assessment is recommended, and scope for transferability of our tools to all midwifery programmes and to nursing was identified. Other recommendations include engagement of key stakeholders in development of practice assessment documentation, and maintaining the professional purpose of grading practice as central to the process. A set of key principles for assessing practice is presented.
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