Improving Assessment Inter-rater Reliability of a Nursing ePortfolio: An Integrative Review
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Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) are responsible in ensuring all nurses are registered, competent, safe and fit to practice, to protect the health and safety of the New Zealand public. The approval of Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRP) by NCNZ enable organisations to provide a programme whereby nurses demonstrate continuing competence and/or progression to a higher level of practice by successfully having a portfolio of evidence assessed. Assessments of portfolios are completed by trained assessors internally or externally to the PDRP approved organisation. This practice project aims to seek clarity and provide recommendations to improve assessment inter-rater reliability of nursing ePortfolio’s. An integrative review methodology framework developed by Whittemore and Knafl (2005) was used along with Braun and Clarke (2006) thematic analysis to support the data analysis process. The dataset comprised of 13 articles which were selected through a rigorous literature search process and then data analysis occurred. There are two main themes that emerged out of the data. Firstly, ‘The Assessor’ and what they bring within themselves which has the potential to influence the assessment process and outcome. The second is ‘External Factors’ which are independent of the assessor and occur due to the nature of the nursing portfolio requirements, process and outcome. The assessment of nursing portfolios is a very complex process. It is clear that the very subjective nature of a nursing portfolio and what the assessor brings with them impacts the assessment process throughout. Assessment variability is inevitable due to the subjective nature of the evidence provided in a nursing portfolio. However, consideration of how to minimise this variability is important. By addressing, during training, what each assessor brings with them, acknowledging their own potential influences, biases and professional judgements, assessment reliability can be enhanced. Furthermore, inter-assessor discussion enables individual assessor’s assumptions and diverse views to be explored leading to a consensus of judgement. Finally, it must be accepted that variability between assessors will never be removed completely and we can only try to implement recommendations that may narrow the gap.