For those developing competency testing

From:"Morken, Tim" <>

There is a good article in the latest Laboratory Medicine (Nov 2000, V.31,
No.11,  a journal of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists) that
proposes a competency assesment model for specimen processors in the
clinical lab. It can be modified to apply to anatomic pathology and can
serve as a model for other areas.

The basic tenet of the assesment model is that you need to identify those
people who are incompetent because they will make most of the mistakes. That
sounds obvious but the problem is that incompetent people tend to think they
are just as competent as their coworkers and so don't know they make

One reference is a study by Kruger (ref below)that shows that incompetent
people usually rate themselves as just as knowledgeable and competent as
even their most knowledgeable and competent co-workers and so won't ask
their co-workers for help. That study in itself is worth reading. Dumb
people don't know they are dumb!

The implications of that changes the way I think of competency assessment.
We are not just documenting that someone can do a job, we are identifying
those who think they can but actually cannot!
Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own
incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.,  Kruger J, Dunning D,J Pers
Soc Psychol 1999 Dec;77(6):1121-34 


Tim Morken
Clifton 1/2318

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