, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 277-290

The Health Professional Ethics Rubric: Practical Assessment in Ethics Education for Health Professional Schools

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Abstract

A barrier to the development and refinement of ethics education in and across health professional schools is that there is not an agreed upon instrument or method for assessment in ethics education. The most widely used ethics education assessment instrument is the Defining Issues Test (DIT) I & II. This instrument is not specific to the health professions. But it has been modified for use in, and influenced the development of other instruments in, the health professions. The DIT contains certain philosophical assumptions (“Kohlbergian” or “neo-Kohlbergian”) that have been criticized in recent years. It is also expensive for large institutions to use. The purpose of this article is to offer a rubric—which the authors have named the Health Professional Ethics Rubric—for the assessment of several learning outcomes related to ethics education in health science centers. This rubric is not open to the same philosophical critiques as the DIT and other such instruments. This rubric is also practical to use. This article includes the rubric being advocated, which was developed by faculty and administrators at a large academic health science center as a part of a campus-wide ethics education initiative. The process of developing the rubric is described, as well as certain limitations and plans for revision.