High Stakes Assessment in Healthcare


Health Education England (HEE), Health Education Wales (HEW), NHS Education for Scotland, Royal College of General Practitioners.


In collaboration with clients and the NHS, over the course of 15 years, Work Psychology Group (WPG) has revolutionised the selection process in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. Through the use of job analyses, situational judgement tests (SJTs) and selection centres, WPG have been able to develop fair, accurate and valuable selection processes that predict performance on the job.


The role of healthcare education providers is to ensure that the healthcare workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours. At the heart of this is ensuring robust and fair selection processes. Due to the high stakes nature of healthcare selection, assessment methods need to be robust, reliable, valid, fair, transparent and practically feasible. WPG have worked with HEE, the Department of Health and Royal Colleges for over 15 years, to deliver changes to healthcare selection and assessment processes that are supported by a robust evidence-base. We have collaborated with our clients to design, develop and implement reliable and valid assessment methods across a range of healthcare professions, at all stages of the career pathway.

Our Approach

In collaboration with our clients and the NHS, WPG has revolutionised the selection processes across medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. Job Analyses. The cornerstone of an effective selection system is a thorough analysis of the relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes and other personal qualities associated with successful performance in a given role, as this enables accurate identification of criteria to be targeted at selection. WPG have conducted job analyses at all stages of the medical career pathway from undergraduate and Foundation through to medical school specialties. We have conducted job analyses for Pre-registration Pharmacy, Dental Core Training, and the Physician Associate role. This work has shown that other attributes beyond clinical knowledge and academic achievement need to be considered.

Our Approach Continued...

Situational Judgement Tests. WPG are the leading experts in SJTS used in medical selection and have designed,implemented and evaluated SJTs across a range of healthcare professions and at different stages in the career pathway.By pioneering the design and development of SJTs, WPG have offered innovative and cutting-edge practice in this high-stake context. Importantly, SJTs are able to be used on a large scale and are a standardized approach for selecting individuals from large applicant pools.

SJT for Selection into Medical and Dental School: WPG develop, implement and evaluate the SJT that is used alongside measures of cognitive ability.

SJTs for Selection into Foundation Training: WPG works in collaboration with the UK Medical SchoolsCouncil to design and evaluate an SJT alongside an educational performance measure for selection into the Foundation Programme, as well as an SJT for the Dental Foundation Programme.

SJTs for Postgraduate Selection: WPG have designed SJTs that have been used successfully for several years for selection into medical postgraduate training, including General Practice and Public Health, as well as Dental and Pharmacy postgraduate training. Selection Centres (SCs). WPG have successfully integrated the information from various job analyses to shape the content of SCs for a range of healthcare professions. WPG have designed SCs across a variety of different medical specialties.

Results and Outcome

Follow-up evaluation work shows our processes have long-term value in predicting employee performance and raising the reputation of organisations. The introduction of SJTs has maximised effectiveness and efficiency in the selection processes and has been shown to predict successful performance on the job which has translated into gains in utility derived from improved job performance. Evaluation research has found that the selection centre approach provides greater breadth and depth of information about a candidate than a stand-alone structured interview, and provides a robust way of assessing candidates’ aptitude for dealing with the different challenges presented to doctors working within healthcare.

Continuing Work

WPG continue to partner with our clients to deliver and evaluate selection solutions that are robust and defensible, whilst also delivering efficiency and maximising performance.


“Work Psychology Group worked closely with us to develop the SJT [professional dilemma] selection tool in GP recruitment, which has been very successful. GP selection methodology is now setting the standard for other specialties involved in medical recruitment.” Dr Richard Jones, Associate GP Dean

Affiliations and Awards

The British Psychological Society Logo
The Association for Business Psychology Logo
Royal College of General Practitioners
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ABP Workforce Experience Awards Logo
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Academy of Social Sciences Logo
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