What is workplace-based assessment?

Workplace-based assessment (WBA) tests performance of an individual in their real work environment. It measures what they do in real-life situations.

WBA involves regular observation, feedback and measurement of an individual's ability to conduct day to day tasks and duties. To be effective, this is done using authentic tools applied by a variety of people who are familiar with the tools and who are already competent in the work they're observing.

WBA is gaining more popularity in health practitioner education.

The advantage of WBA is that it enables the assessment of clinical reasoning, decision making, communication skills, professional judgement and other capabilities, which can be done with a level of practicality and efficiency not always available by other means.

Pharmacist interns complete their supervised practice period in diverse workplaces under the guidance of a nominated preceptor. Preceptors are responsible for providing assurance that an intern is ready to advance towards independent practice. The WBA process provides evidence that helps the preceptor make this decision.

Overview of WBA tools

Intern Performance Outcomes

We've outlined the performance outcomes for pharmacist interns in the Performance Outcomes Framework. Each domain describes expectations for pharmacy students at the end of their degree program (left side of the table) and for interns upon general registration (right side of the table).

To assist those responsible for assessing interns, an Intern Year Assessment Blueprint (IYB) is also available. The IYB recommends a single optimal assessment method for each of the performance outcomes.

WBA allows interns to show how they are progressing towards meeting these performance outcomes.

Role of Intern Training Program (ITP) Providers

Satisfactory completion of an accredited Intern Training Program (ITP) is a registration requirement. Interns must demonstrate attainment of the requisite performance outcomes to receive an ITP certificate of completion.

Interns must therefore work closely with their ITP providers (and preceptors) to ensure their portfolio is complete and provides evidence to support competency claims. Such evidence may include WBA activities completed and attested to by the preceptor.

WBA Tools

Effective WBA requires the use of different strategies to observe and assess an individual's performance. An initial suite of WBA tools for Australian pharmacist intern assessment is now available. You can read our report on the development and testing of the WBA tools (8 pages PDF).

These tools cover 15 of the 51 performance outcomes relevant for pharmacist interns. Some of the tools can be used to address more than one performance outcome simultaneously.

The tools comprise:

  • 1 x Case-based Discussion (CbD)
  • 3 x Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)
  • 2 x In-Training Assessment activities (ITA-act)

Each of these tools come with a Preceptor and Intern User Guide, and a Feedback and Assessment form. Some of the tools include additional templates and forms that interns can use.


CPD: Workplace-based assessment for intern pharmacists. Australian Pharmacist. April 1 2023


Development of workplace based assessment tools to support postgraduate training of provisionally registered pharmacists in Australia https://accpjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jac5.1714

Video: Entrustable professional activities: Their significance for health profession education

Norcini JJ. 2003. Work-based assessment. BMJ 326(7392):753–755.

Norcini J, Burch V. Workplace-based assessment as an educational tool: AMEE Guide No. 31. Med Teach. 2007 Nov;29(9): 855-71. doi: 10.1080/01421590701775453.

Liu C. An introduction to workplace-based assessments. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench 2012;5(1):24-28).

Intern Year Assessment Blueprint Literature Review. APC. September 2017

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