Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

Sicily statement on classification and development of evidence-based practice learning assessment tools

Julie K Tilson1*, Sandra L Kaplan2, Janet L Harris3, Andy Hutchinson4, Dragan Ilic5, Richard Niederman6, Jarmila Potomkova7 and Sandra E Zwolsman8

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2 Doctoral Programs in Physical Therapy, Dept. of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA

3 School of Health & Related Research, University of Sheffield, UK

4 National Prescribing Centre, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Liverpool, UK

5 Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, VIC, Australia

6 Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, The Forsyth Institute, Boston, MA, USA

7 Palacky University Medical Library, Olomouc, Czech Republic

8 Department of General Practice/Family Medicine, Academic Medical Center-University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:78  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-78

Published: 5 October 2011



Teaching the steps of evidence-based practice (EBP) has become standard curriculum for health professions at both student and professional levels. Determining the best methods for evaluating EBP learning is hampered by a dearth of valid and practical assessment tools and by the absence of guidelines for classifying the purpose of those that exist. Conceived and developed by delegates of the Fifth International Conference of Evidence-Based Health Care Teachers and Developers, the aim of this statement is to provide guidance for purposeful classification and development of tools to assess EBP learning.


This paper identifies key principles for designing EBP learning assessment tools, recommends a common taxonomy for new and existing tools, and presents the Classification Rubric for EBP Assessment Tools in Education (CREATE) framework for classifying such tools. Recommendations are provided for developers of EBP learning assessments and priorities are suggested for the types of assessments that are needed. Examples place existing EBP assessments into the CREATE framework to demonstrate how a common taxonomy might facilitate purposeful development and use of EBP learning assessment tools.


The widespread adoption of EBP into professional education requires valid and reliable measures of learning. Limited tools exist with established psychometrics. This international consensus statement strives to provide direction for developers of new EBP learning assessment tools and a framework for classifying the purposes of such tools.