Original Research

Reliability testing of a portfolio assessment tool for postgraduate family medicine training in South Africa

Louis Jenkins, Bob Mash, Anselme Derese
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a577 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.577 | © 2013 Louis Jenkins, Bob Mash, Anselme Derese | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 July 2013 | Published: 14 November 2013

About the author(s)

Louis Jenkins, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch and Western Cape Department of Health, Eden district,George Hospital, South Africa
Bob Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Anselme Derese, Centre for Education Development, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium


Background: Competency-based education and the validity and reliability of workplace-based assessment of postgraduate trainees have received increasing attention worldwide.Family medicine was recognised as a speciality in South Africa six years ago and a satisfactory portfolio of learning is a prerequisite to sit the national exit exam. A massive scaling up of the number of family physicians is needed in order to meet the health needs of the country.

Aim: The aim of this study was to develop a reliable, robust and feasible portfolio assessment tool (PAT) for South Africa.

Methods: Six raters each rated nine portfolios from the Stellenbosch University programme, using the PAT, to test for inter-rater reliability. This rating was repeated three months later to determine test–retest reliability. Following initial analysis and feedback the PAT was modified and the inter-rater reliability again assessed on nine new portfolios. An acceptable intra-classcorrelation was considered to be > 0.80.

Results: The total score was found to be reliable, with a coefficient of 0.92. For test–retest reliability, the difference in mean total score was 1.7%, which was not statistically significant. Amongst the subsections, only assessment of the educational meetings and the logbook showed reliability coefficients > 0.80.

Conclusion: This was the first attempt to develop a reliable, robust and feasible national portfolio assessment tool to assess postgraduate family medicine training in the South African context. The tool was reliable for the total score, but the low reliability of several sections in the PAT helped us to develop 12 recommendations regarding the use of the portfolio, the design of the PAT and the training of raters.


portfolio; assessment; postgraduate; family medicine


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Crossref Citations

1. Metacognition gains in public health graduate students following in-class peer evaluation
Kelley Borton, Olivia S. Anderson
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education  vol: 43  issue: 8  first page: 1286  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1458211