Bias in assessment: name, reframe, and check in

Tyra L. Fainstad, Adelaide H. McClintock, Lalena M. Yarris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive bias permeates almost every learner assessment in medical education. Assessment bias has the potential to affect a learner's education, future career and sense of self-worth. Decades of data show that there is little educators can do to overcome bias in learner assessments. Using in-group favouritism as an example, we offer an evidence-based, three-step solution to understand and move forward with cognitive bias in assessment: (1) Name: a simple admission about the presence of inherent bias in assessment, (2) Reframe: a rephrasing of assessment language to shed light on the assessor's subjectivity and (3) Check-in: a chance to ensure learner understanding and open lines of bidirectional communication. This process is theory-informed and based on decades of educational, sociological and psychological literature; we offer it as a logical first step towards a much-needed paradigm shift towards addressing bias in learner assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-453
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Teacher
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Review and Exam Preparation


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