Consistency in accreditation assessments

Domain 5. Processes for accreditation of programs of study and education providers

Organisation

Australian Medical Council (AMC)

Relevance

Quality Framework for the Accreditation Function: Domain 5: Accreditation Procedures

Issue addressed

Consistent application of accreditation standards to the assessment of programs of study and providers.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act requires that accreditation authorities assess programs and their providers against the accreditation standards, and grant accreditation to those programs that meet the accreditation standards or substantially meet the standard and can meet the standards in a reasonable time by the imposition of conditions.

Since the National Law was introduced, the AMC has developed templates for reporting accreditation findings against the accreditation standards, to support the AMC governing body making a decision on whether standards are met or substantially met. This revised reporting format provides a more detailed assessment of each program and provider against the accreditation standards than was provided in AMC reports before the National Law was introduced. Because it had enhanced the level of detail by providing a public statement of findings against each standard, the AMC decided that it needed a clear mechanism to facilitate consistency between AMC assessments of providers and programs against the standards.

Practice introduced or changed

The AMC has developed a structured template for accreditation assessments and for monitoring of accredited programs to shape the assessment against the accreditation standards.

The assessment of a program and provider begins with all relevant AMC reviewers – members of an accreditation team or the reviewers of monitoring reports – completing a preliminary review of the education provider’s submission or report (this template is called “the matrix”). The structure of the template follows the structure of the accreditation standards. For each standard, the reviewer is required to make an assessment of whether the standard is met, substantially met, or not met and to comment on their findings. The individuals’ assessments are then collated and discussed – by the accreditation team or the committee if a monitoring report – to arrive at a preliminary consensus position on the education provider and its program, and whether further information may be required. At each subsequent stage of the assessment – the AMC requires reviewers to update their assessment against on the matrix, building a record overtime of individual and collective views, which is checked for internal consistency, alignment with standards, and consistency with interpretation of standards in other assessments. The document becomes the basis of the AMC preliminary findings presented to the education provider at the end of an accreditation visit. As the accreditation report is prepared, the matrix and the preliminary statement of findings and the matrix are consulted to ensure that the assessment remains consistent.

Impact

The use of the assessment matrix has:

  • Clearly focussed AMC accreditation assessments on the accreditation
  • Provides a tool to support discussions in an accreditation team, and between AMC reviewers and accreditation committees about the rationale for individual findings in relation to accreditation standards
  • Allows AMC staff to identify standards that maybe unclear or complex, and provide additional guidance or

Where to go for more information

The AMC accreditation section, accreditation@amc.org.au