Review Article

Exploring the key performance areas and assessment criteria for the evaluation of students’ clinical performance: a delphi study

C. Joseph, C. Hendricks, J. Frantz
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 67, No 2 | a40 | DOI: | © 2011 C. Joseph, C. Hendricks, J. Frantz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 January 2011 | Published: 05 January 2011

About the author(s)

C. Joseph, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
C. Hendricks, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
J. Frantz, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

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Background: evaluating  students’ clinical  performance  is  an integral part of the quality assurance in a physiotherapy curriculum, however, the objectivity during clinical examination have been questioned on numerous occasions.  The  aim  of  this  study  was  to  explore  the  essential  key  clinical performance areas and the associated assessment criteria in order to develop a reliable clinical assessment form.Methods: A Delphi study was used to obtain consensus on the development of a reliable clinical performance assessment tool. The study population consisted of  purposively  selected  academic  physiotherapy  staff  from  the  University  of Western Cape as well as supervisors and clinicians involved in the examination of  physiotherapy  students  from  the  three  Universities  in  the  Western Cape.  Findings  from  the  Delphi  rounds  were analysed  descriptively. Fifty  percent  or  higher  agreement  on  an  element  was  interpreted  as  an  acceptable  level of consensus.Results: Eight key performance areas were identified with five assessment criteria per key performance area as well as the weighting per area. It was evident that evaluators differed on the expectations of physiotherapy students as well as the criteria used to assess them.Conclusions: The Delphi panel contributed to the formulation of a clinical assessment form through the identification of  relevant  key  performance  areas  and  assessment  criteria  as  they  relate  to undergraduate  physiotherapy  training. Consensus on both aspects was reached following discussion and calculation of mean ranking sores.Implications: This process of reaching consensus in determining clear criteria for measuring key performance areas contributes to the objectivity of the process of examinations.


key performance areas (KPA); criteria, delphi


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doi: 10.4102/sajp.v71i1.247