Feedback & Evaluation

Feedback - the moment to moment communications that let your students know what they are doing right and where they need to improve.

Feedback should be as specific as you can make it and focus on the behavior and the outcome, not on the student. By doing so, you’ll avoid miscommunication and having your student feel he or she has been attacked.

When critiquing, try to use phrasing that will lead the student to analyze the situations and the behaviors that may have lead to it.  

Here’s an example of two different possible phrases that lead into a critical remark. The first focuses on the student and his lack of skill/knowledge, the second focuses on the result of that possible lack of skill/knowledge.

You don’t seem to know how to...  
The patient appeared uncomfortable when you...

For more advice, take a look at these articles.

Giving Effective Feedback (R-Scope)

Feedback (Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center)


In this situation, evaluation is the final assessment of what the student accomplished during his or her clinical rotation. It is a much more formal process than feedback and generally involves comparing the student’s progress to a set of established standards.

Because there is so much at stake, valuation can be stressful for both the student and the clinical teacher. Here are some tips to help reduce the stress (adapted from the University of Kansas’ Pearls for Preceptor Evaluations).

  • Be prepared - read through the evaluation materials before the clinical rotation begins. You don’t want to come to evaluation time and learn that there are holes in what you know about your student’s skills.
  • Similarly, keep notes. Think of it as a health record for your student that you can review during the final evaluation.
  • Do not procrastinate. Even with notes, it will become increasingly difficult to accurately evaluate a student if you let too much time pass.
  • Check for bias. Students who personally relate well to their clinical teachers tend to get higher marks, while those who hold different opinions, attitudes, or make a negative impression in general tend to score lower regardless of clinical skill.

Further Reading

Observation, Evaluation, and Feedback (Provincial Faculty Development Initiative)

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