Aims START is a new compulsory assessment for final year trainees introduced by the RCPCH in 2012. The purpose of START is to provide targeted developmental feedback, a process which is critically dependent on engagement and understanding from trainees and educational supervisors. We aimed to assess educational supervisors’ understanding of START, which has not been previously evaluated.
Methods An online survey was send to all college tutors within our Deanery who were asked to distribute the survey to Educational Supervisors in their trust. 51 educational supervisors responded to the survey. The survey was open from 21st September 2012 – 3rd October 2012
Results Less than a fifth (10) correctly described that START is a structured assessment to give trainees and educational supervisors feedback to focus their learning. Nearly half (21) felt that it was a check of competence prior to the award of CCT.
Two-thirds of respondents (30) correctly identified that all run through trainees who entered ST6 on or after August 2011 are required to sit the assessment.
Two thirds (29/51) were aware that START is a formative rather than summative assessment.
There is a high level of awareness (46/51) that trainees and educational supervisors will receive written feedback from START rather than a pass/fail grade.
There were mixed views around the implications of the START feedback for certificate of completion of trainng (CCT). 47% believed that START results could delay CCT, or that trainees would be expected to declare their START scores on their application for consultant posts.
When asked, ‘How do you anticipate using START feedback with your trainees?’. 17/51 respondents were clear that they would use the feedback to help trainees identify strengths and areas for development. However 17/51 indicated that they did not know how they would use the feedback.
Conclusion Our results show significant gaps in knowledge around who needs to take START, the implications of the results for progression through training and the role of educational supervisors in the feedback process. Educational supervisors require further training and resources if the START assessment is to achieve its full potential as a developmental tool for senior paediatric trainees.
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