Advancing the assessment of clinical reasoning across the health professions: Definitional and methodologic recommendations

David Gordon*, Joseph J. Rencic, Valerie J. Lang, Aliki Thomas, Meredith Young, Steven J. Durning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The importance of clinical reasoning in patient care is well-recognized across all health professions. Validity evidence supporting high quality clinical reasoning assessment is essential to ensure health professional schools are graduating learners competent in this domain. However, through the course of a large scoping review, we encountered inconsistent terminology for clinical reasoning and inconsistent reporting of methodology, reflecting a somewhat fractured body of literature on clinical reasoning assessment. These inconsistencies impeded our ability to synthesize across studies and appropriately compare assessment tools. More specifically, we encountered: 1) a wide array of clinical reasoning-like terms that were rarely defined or informed by a conceptual framework, 2) limited details of assessment methodology, and 3) inconsistent reporting of the steps taken to establish validity evidence for clinical reasoning assessments. Consolidating our experience in conducting this review, we provide recommendations on key definitional and methodologic elements to better support the development, description, study, and reporting of clinical reasoning assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalPerspectives on Medical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Conceptual frameworks
  • Health professions
  • Validity


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