The IACC 2021 interview

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The 45 minute interview is normally conducted by the assessor panel under exam conditions. The focus of the interview is to allow the assessor panel to explore aspects of the narrative to confirm that the trainee demonstrates ‘readiness to practise’ in each domain and the global statement.

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Preparing for the panel interview

Before the interview the Lead Assessor should ensure that:

  • the panel have contact details for each assessor, including the contingency assessor
  • the panel are aware of any reasonable adjustments to be provided to a trainee
  • the panel know the assessment schedule for the trainee

The Lead Assessor will organise a pre-interview meeting to consider the individual assessor views that will inform a provisional panel view on the trainee’s readiness to practice. The panel will identify areas in each Good Scientific Practice (GSP) domain and the global statement that they wish to explore further with the trainee, particularly any readiness to practise issues identified within the critical reflection. Contingency assessors should also be invited to this meeting.

The panel interview will be conducted over 45 minutes. Lead Assessors have discretion on how much time to spend on each domain and the order in which GSP domains will be addressed.

The interview panel must agree their approach to the interview, including:

  • agreeing positive aspects and indicators of the trainee’s readiness to practice
  • identifying areas of the trainee’s critical reflective narrative that the panel wish to explore with the trainee, including the relevance and persuasiveness of the cited evidence
  • agreeing the questions the panel will ask to determine readiness to practise for each of the five GSP domains, and the global statement
  • determine the order in which the questions will be asked and allocating questions to panel members
  • deciding how much time to allocate to each area of questioning

The panel will take a semi-structured approach to asking questions; supplementary questions may be asked where further information would be helpful and time permits.

The Lead Assessor should record the questions and their allocation to panel members.

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Conducting the interview

The trainee will arrive 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start and during this time the Invigilator or Facilitator will ensure that:

  • the identity of the trainee is confirmed using a reliable form of photo identification (i.e., photo ID driving licence, workplace photo ID, photo ID for your professional body or current passport)
  • confirm the trainee has viewed the recording summarising the assessment regulations sent to them in advance of the interview
  • parts of the trainee visible to the camera conform to the dress code for the final assessment, that of a professional interview and/or work clothes provide by the employer if the trainee is taking the assessment at the work place
  • the trainee is alone and unaided for their assessment, the trainee will turn their camera to allow the invigilator to view the trainee’s environment

The assessor panel will join the trainee in the MS Teams room after these checks are completed and the interview can begin.

The Lead Assessor is responsible for the conduct of the panel interview and provides guidance and direction to the trainee and panel members. During the interview Lead Assessor will:

  • ensure that any reasonable adjustments are provided to the trainee
  • ensure the Assessment Regulations and duration for the interview are strictly adhered to
  • ensure that a response is given where the trainee seeks clarification on a question
  • provide direction to participants to ensure the smooth running of the interview

The panel questions should allow the members to determine the trainee’s readiness to practise at the end of the interview. The interview panel will focus on the most significant issues, or where there is a lack of clarity. Initial planned questions may be followed by more detailed questions to explore the trainee’s responses. The interview panel must use a proportionate approach when seeking clarification or additional information to ensure the interview can be completed in the time available. Trainees can respond to the Lead Assessor or the assessor asking the question. The panel members should independently record questions asked and trainee responses during the interview under the relevant heading on the assessor feedback template.

If a trainee does not understand a question they may ask for clarification, or check their understanding. No additional time is available for a trainee to seek clarification; if the panel feel that this significantly interfered with the assessment an incident report may be submitted to the Examination Board. Trainees may not seek feedback on their responses to the panel’s questions within the assessment.

Assessor questions, and trainee responses, may make reference to annexes and OneFile evidence within the scope of the guidance on evidence. Assessors may consider trainees suggestions where further evidence can be found within their e-portfolio for assessors to consider during the interview.

If the interview panel has completed their questions the panel must ask the trainee if they want to add anything further. If the trainee does not wish to make a further contribution the panel will sit in silence until the scheduled end of the interview; the panel may make notes during this time. At any time before the end of the interview the trainee may choose to make any additional comments to support their assessment. The panel may reasonably seek clarification or additional information, if necessary.

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Panel interview incident reporting

If the trainee or an assessor is unable to continue the interview, or has technical difficulties, the Lead Assessor will record the time of the incident and liaise with members of the School to determine if the assessment can continue. In exceptional circumstances, where a contingency assessor is not available, the Lead Assessor will seek the trainee’s consent to record the interview. Recording the interview will allow the assessment to continue and allows for a third assessor to contribute to the trainee’s assessment and feedback at a later date.

Where an incident occurs within the conduct of a panel interview an incident report maybe created by the trainee, assessors, service user representative or School observers for the Examination Board. The incident report will be a brief statement that describes the issue, any remedy or solution offered during the panel interview and any impact on the assessment process. Incident Reports should be emailed to nshcs.assessment@hee.nhs.uk, the subject line of the email should clearly state IACC 2021 incident report and the clinical specialism.

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Post-panel meeting

After the interview, each panel member will update their independent assessment of the trainee on the assessor feedback template before the post-interview meeting.

At the end of the final assessment (i.e. after the interview), the panel meets to discuss, negotiate and arrive at a consensus and agree an outcome recommendation and feedback comments to be forwarded to the trainee. The Lead Assessor must arrange and chair the post-interview panel meeting.

Lead Assessors are responsible for:

  • leading a panel discussion to seek a consensus on the trainee’s performance and outcome, supported by a rationale aligned to the assessment criteria
  • if a consensus cannot be reached, lead a discussion to arrive at an outcome and feedback supported by the majority of assessors and record the disputed points and the differing rationale for each
  • recording and communicating the recommended outcome and feedback for the trainee on the online assessment system, by the deadline. Where the outcome for a trainee reflects a majority decision the Lead Assessor will include a brief report to the Examination Board. The report will identify the disputed points and corresponding rationale for each; the report will also explain why the assessor panel prefers the provisional outcome supported by the majority of assessors.
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Feedback to trainees

Supportive and developmental feedback is a key feature of the IACC 2021 to support transition into practice, particularly during these extraordinary times. Feedback must be written for, and addressed to, the trainee; it should be consistent with an approach to supporting development and transition into practice through critical reflection. Read our guidance on writing the required Assessor feedback.

Trainees will receive feedback within their Candidate Report that has been approved by the Examination and Ratification Boards. Lead Assessor reports to the Examination Board on majority decisions for provisional outcomes or the individual notes and draft feedback made by individual assessors will not be provided to the trainee. Where a trainee is required to resubmit, they will be wholly reliant on feedback and guidance provided within their Candidate Report.

Feedback must definitively state whether the outcome is a pass or fail. Feedback should be sufficiently detailed to:

  • allow trainees to understand each of the judgements made for GSP domains, the global statement and the overarching criteria and the overall outcome reached by the assessor panel, including any recommendations made
  • support transition into practise
  • support a resubmission, if required
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Examination board

Lead Assessors are required to attend the appropriate Examination Board for their specialism. Examination Boards receive the provisional outcomes and feedback provided by the Lead Assessors that takes into account the views and feedback agreed by the panel. The examination Board considers the recommendations and report provided by each Lead Assessor and makes recommendations relating to outcomes and feedback for each trainee to the Ratification Board.

The Examination Board must have confidence that the trainee has/has not met the required standard based on the supporting rationale proposed by the Assessor Panel, supported with Lead Assessor’s report to the Examination Board where the provisional outcome was not agreed by all assessors on the panel. Where a resubmission is required the Board should also have confidence that the trainee feedback provides sufficient clarity to support the trainee’s next attempt at the IACC 2021.

IACC Examination Boards should have confidence that the outcome recommended to the Ratification Board is unlikely to be successfully appealed.