A Qualitative Analysis of Narrative Preclerkship Assessment Data to Evaluate Teamwork Skills

Brigid M Dolan*, Celia Laird O'Brien, Kenzie A Cameron, Marianne Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Construct: Students entering the health professions require competency in teamwork. Background: Although many teamwork curricula and assessments exist, studies have not demonstrated robust longitudinal assessment of preclerkship students' teamwork skills and attitudes. Assessment portfolios may serve to fill this gap, but it is unknown how narrative comments within portfolios describe student teamwork behaviors. Approach: We performed a qualitative analysis of narrative data in 15 assessment portfolios. Student portfolios were randomly selected from 3 groups stratified by quantitative ratings of teamwork performance gathered from small-group and clinical preceptor assessment forms. Narrative data included peer and faculty feedback from these same forms. Data were coded for teamwork-related behaviors using a constant comparative approach combined with an identification of the valence of the coded statements as either “positive observation” or “suggestion for improvement.” Results: Eight codes related to teamwork emerged: attitude and demeanor, information facilitation, leadership, preparation and dependability, professionalism, team orientation, values team member contributions, and nonspecific teamwork comments. The frequency of codes and valence varied across the 3 performance groups, with students in the low-performing group receiving more suggestions for improvement across all teamwork codes. Conclusions: Narrative data from assessment portfolios included specific descriptions of teamwork behavior, with important contributions provided by both faculty and peers. A variety of teamwork domains were represented. Such feedback as collected in an assessment portfolio can be used for longitudinal assessment of preclerkship student teamwork skills and attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018


  • competency assessment
  • portfolio assessment
  • qualitative analysis
  • teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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