Open Access Research article

Learning while evaluating: the use of an electronic evaluation portfolio in a geriatric medicine clerkship

Gustavo Duque12*, Adam Finkelstein3, Ayanna Roberts1, Diana Tabatabai2, Susan L Gold1, Laura R Winer4 and members of the Division of Geriatric Medicine, McGill University1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Geriatric Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2 Centre for Medical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

3 Instructional Multimedia Services, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

4 Office of the Deputy Provost and CIO, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-4

Published: 12 January 2006



Electronic evaluation portfolios may play a role in learning and evaluation in clinical settings and may complement other traditional evaluation methods (bedside evaluations, written exams and tutor-led evaluations).


133 third-year medical students used the McGill Electronic Evaluation Portfolio (MEEP) during their one-month clerkship rotation in Geriatric Medicine between September 2002 and September 2003. Students were divided into two groups, one who received an introductory hands-on session about the electronic evaluation portfolio and one who did not. Students' marks in their portfolios were compared between both groups. Additionally, students self-evaluated their performance and received feedback using the electronic portfolio during their mandatory clerkship rotation. Students were surveyed immediately after the rotation and at the end of the clerkship year. Tutors' opinions about this method were surveyed once. Finally, the number of evaluations/month was quantified. In all surveys, Likert scales were used and were analyzed using Chi-square tests and t-tests to assess significant differences in the responses from surveyed subjects.


The introductory session had a significant effect on students' portfolio marks as well as on their comfort using the system. Both tutors and students reported positive notions about the method. Remarkably, an average (± SD) of 520 (± 70) evaluations/month was recorded with 30 (± 5) evaluations per student/month.


The MEEP showed a significant and positive effect on both students' self-evaluations and tutors' evaluations involving an important amount of self-reflection and feedback which may complement the more traditional evaluation methods.