We are grateful to all of you who were able to respond to Aquifer’s Assessment Strategy survey this fall to share your feedback. We wanted to share with you an important update to Aquifer’s assessment strategy.   

Driven by our mission of advancing healthcare education, and informed by input from current Aquifer exam users as well as Aquifer subscribers who don’t use our exams, we have decided to shift our assessment strategy to focus on high-impact formative assessment.  We plan to do the following:

  • Transition our current multiple-choice exams for Aquifer Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Radiology from their current format into new innovative formative assessment tools.  Anticipated transition date: July, 2020
  • Continue to offer our Key Features Clinical Decision-Making Exam for Aquifer Internal Medicine, in addition to building new formative assessment tools for this course consistent with those developed for the courses listed above. Anticipated availability of the new formative assessment tools: July, 2020.

We are excited about the opportunity to promote self-directed student learning by linking our comprehensive peer-reviewed content to robust formative assessments.  We believe that harnessing assessment and data as proactive learning tools will help students be better health care providers—not just better test takers. We will be exploring this concept in our case evolution in the coming years as well.

Our new formative assessment tools are in early planning phases. At this stage, we’re excited to share that our new tools will include the following features:

  • Designed as a series of progressive tests or quizzes to assess comprehensive curricular understanding throughout your course
  • Capitalize on our deep pools of existing questions which have undergone rigorous psychometric and content validation over the past decade—and are used by over 90 programs nationwide
  • Allow for shorter, more frequent assessments to enable earlier, targeted formulation of learning goals
  • Provide  granular student feedback, performance reports, and directed links to learning objectives and specific case content to facilitate self-directed learning
  • Promote further opportunities for student remediation and mid-term evaluation feedback

We have included some additional questions and answers below with more detail.  We understand the importance of the Aquifer assessment tools in your curriculum and the need for advance notification of changes.  As we continue to make decisions about the design of our new assessment tools throughout the coming year, we will continue to communicate with you.  

Please feel free to reach out with your thoughts via email. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for your support and your subscription.


Leslie H. Fall, MD
Executive Director & Chief Academic Officer

Valerie J. Lang, MD, MHPE
Academic Director for Assessment

Bridie Napier, MD
Director of Assessment Operations

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