Essential Competencies – Assessment Guide (2023) 

Education, Essential Competencies
Last Edited 4 January 2024 09:11 CET
A midwife demonstrates Method of Leopold Maneuvers to midwives participants at the workshop organized by Japan Academy of Midwifery in in Tokyo, Japan.

Many midwife educators/teachers develop assessment strategies that must meet the needs of midwifery students and the curriculum. A challenge for midwifery educators is how to ensure that the assessment methods they choose accurately and reliably evaluate midwifery competencies.  The purpose of this guide is to provide direction for midwifery teachers/educators with a means to develop assessments that are reliable, valid and consistent when evaluating the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice (2019).

A primary goal for developing assessments is to develop strategies that focus on the quality of the learning and assessment experience. Research on the use and development of such assessment strategies recommends that learners be involved in:

  • making sense of new knowledge and skills, and developing understanding rather than simply learning a set of facts and information to be reproduced when required;
  • looking for what is significant, such as key concepts and principles, relationships between ideas, etc.;
  • relating new ideas to previous knowledge and experience;
  • finding the link between conceptual knowledge and real-world applications; and
  • employing higher order thinking skills through examining issues, clarifying problems, producing their own ideas and thinking critically.

Midwifery educators/teachers benefit from understanding the assessment tools they use and how to adapt them to meet the requirements of the assessment task. This guide is designed to assist Midwife educators/teachers and Clinical preceptors/teachers to design practical assessments that inspire confidence in the quality of the evidence that is collected and the judgements that educators make based on that evidence.

ICM endorses a collaborative approach to assessment development, which means including all faculty and relevant stakeholders (e.g., Midwives’ associations; preceptors, persons using midwifery services; healthcare professionals working with midwives; former midwife graduates; etc.)  in the development process. Creating buy-in and acceptance by all faculty is important to the successful delivery of the assessments.


What is in this Guide?

This guide provides midwife educators with information on assessing the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice (2019). It contains an overview of competency-based assessment and examples of the most common assessments used in a midwifery curriculum.

The guide contains the following:

  • an introduction to competency-based assessment,
  • assessment guidelines when selecting and developing assessments for the ICM competencies, and a list of assessment resources.

Relevant ICM Documentation  

If you haven’t already done so, we suggest you review the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice (2019) and determine whether or not your midwifery programme addresses some or all of the competencies. Keep in mind that the competencies are not exhaustive and you may need to include other competencies based on the requirements within your context.