Decreasing ambiguity in feedback- developing a standard Allied Health Assistant (AHA) student performance evaluation tool

Mrs Lucy Whelan1,3, Mr Tony Sheng1, Ms Loraine Ng1, Mrs Andrea Bramley1,2

1Monash Health, Clayton, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 3Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Supervised clinical placements are an essential part of Allied Health Assistant (AHA) training and workforce demands have seen Monash Health increase AHA student numbers by over 400% since 2016.  Consequently, a need for consistent education practices across Monash Health’s multiple locations and settings to support this growth has emerged. Historically, delivery of student feedback and formative assessment from clinical educators (CEs) to AHA students varied from site to site.

Aim: To develop a standardised Allied Health Assistant student performance evaluation tool to inform formative assessment, feedback and learning for AHA students undertaking clinical placement at Monash Health.

Method: A mixed methods multi-phase approach using qualitative and quantitative methods has been employed to design, pilot and evaluate the tool. Existing single institution feedback tools were compared, contrasted and mapped to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector AHA training package.

Focus groups of CEs were conducted to determine requirements for feasibility and utility of a standardised tool.

A pilot Monash Health AHA student performance evaluation tool was developed and tested for user acceptability.

The pilot tool will be used to provide mid placement feedback to all AHA students at all Monash Health AHA placement locations. Further evaluation using mixed methods consisting of anonymous evaluation surveys and purposive focus groups will determine validity and feasibility of the tool.

Results:  Initial user feedback gathered during the pre-pilot exploratory phase has demonstrated acceptability of the tool. Testing is currently underway with the pilot phase with students, CEs and education partners. The tool will be used to inform mid-placement performance evaluations, feedback between CEs and students and between Monash Health and education partners.

Further evaluation of the tool will be undertaken throughout 2021 to determine validity feasibility and acceptability. Testing of the tool in multiple healthcare settings offers potential for use elsewhere.


Tony Sheng is an experience Grade 3 AHA working at Monash Health in a pioneering non-clinical role as AHA workforce officer. This role sits within the Workforce Innovation Strategy Education and Research Unit of Monash Health Allied Health and is a key support to the AHA Student coordinator and AHA Advisor roles. Combined with completion of a Certificate IV Training and Assessment in 2019, Tony’s passion for the AHA workforce and development of skills ready AHA graduates has seen him apply rigour and contextualisation to the process of creating a standardised performance evaluation tool for all Monash Health AHA Student placements.

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