Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Assessment & Evaluation

Medical education is a lifelong process that requires the skills of self-assessment, self-reflection, continuous learning and professional accountability. We believe that these skills are critical to providing quality patient care. Feinberg’s MD students develop these skills in undergraduate training.

Portfolio: A Culture of Self-Reflection and Improvement

All physicians must be able to continually monitor their performance, identify areas for improvement and take concrete steps to grow in an ever-changing field. Feinberg is dedicated to cultivating habits of self-assessment, personal improvement and reflective capacity in our students. Throughout their training, students review their assessment data in our comprehensive portfolio system, create learning goals and reflect on their performance — all with the supportive guidance of a physician mentor.

We strive to create a culture where giving and receiving constructive feedback is a welcome and comfortable occurrence so our students can continually grow toward their full potential. 




Ours is a competency-based education framework. This structure explicitly defines our curricular expectations and goals as well as our assessment standards. The Feinberg MD student’s education is defined by achievement of competence. Explore the eight competencies below or download the Feinberg Competency Standards, Anchors and Benchmarks document.

Patient-Centered Medical Care

Our graduates will demonstrate proficiency in the clinical skills and knowledge necessary to enter postgraduate medical education. They will apply their skills, knowledge and clinical evidence with attention to patients' perspectives, needs, values and comfort.

Learn About Patient-Centered Medical Care
Effective Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Our graduates will demonstrate that they have the verbal and non-verbal communication skills needed to have respectful, compassionate and effective conversations with their patients, patients' families and colleagues in order to exchange information and make medical decisions.

Learn About Effective Communication & Interpersonal Skills
Medical Knowledge & Scholarship

Our graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the scientific basis of medicine, the ability to apply that knowledge to patient care and the skills to contribute to scholarship in medicine through research or teaching.

Learn About Medical Knowledge & Scholarship
System Awareness & Team-Based Care

Our graduates will demonstrate awareness of the overall healthcare delivery system, as well as the system of care in each of their clinical settings. They'll also demonstrate the ability to work as an effective member of a healthcare team.

Learn About System Awareness & Team-Based Care
Personal Awareness & Self-Care

Our graduates will demonstrate the capacity to self-reflect on their acculturation to medicine, to assess the impact of their medical school experiences on their evolving personal and professional values and to tend to their own physical and mental health.

Learn About Personal Awareness & Self-Care
Community Engagement & Service

Our graduates will demonstrate knowledge of community factors that influence individual, community and public health and will gain perspective and experience through service activities within their local or global communities.

Learn About Community Engagement & Service
Continuous Learning & Quality Improvement

Our graduates will demonstrate the ability to accurately assess and improve classroom and clinical performance, as well as to acquire, appraise and apply scientific evidence to classroom activities and patient care.

Learn About Continuous Learning & Quality Improvement
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