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Proactive Tips for Successful Annual Reports

As a BOC Approved Provider, you work each year to develop and provide impactful and successful continuing education programs to meet the needs of Athletic Trainers (ATs). The structure of these programs is reviewed annually within our annual report process. The most common errors identified each year lie within these three areas: Practice Gap, Clinical Bottom Line and Assessments. Following is some guidance on how to proactively address these three requirements.

Practice Gap

A house with “good bones” is a strong and solid investment. Similarly, as you build continuing education programs, think of the process of identifying the ‘gap’ between current practice and ideal practice — a deficiency — as establishing the solid foundation for your educational program. This is a crucial step in program development. Your program should be designed to close the gap by creating a solution to the problem.

Gaps don’t have to be flaws or impossible challenges. Core concepts that need to be learned and practiced are relatively common for all ATs. Use this workflow to identify and address ATs’ knowledge gaps. This process will ultimately help to establish the solid foundation of your program long before it’s built.

Clinical Bottom Line

BOC Approved Providers have expressed some confusion about the differences between Clinical Bottom Line and Practice Gap. To clarify, the Clinical Bottom Line covers recommendations to the clinician, while Practice Gap identifies the educational need.


These two components exist for two purposes:

  • Clinical Bottom Line: To describe what the Athletic Trainer (AT)should be doing in practice.
  • Practice Gap: To describe the problem the proposed education will address which is the “gap” between current practice and the Clinical Bottom Line.

Additional information on how to effectively implement the Clinical Bottom Line in programs can be found here.

Assessment strategies constitute an essential component of continuing education (CE) programming and constructing effective and compliant assessments requires several key considerations. Effective assessment is more than obligatory paperwork at the end of a program, it is a tool for participant engagement and reflective learning. When learners are shown their gaps and empowered with means to see their progress as a direct result of a CE program, providers powerfully demonstrate their value. Most importantly, assessments allow learners to review and make individual connections to the content. Conducted through various assessment methods, which include question(s) or tasks (or combinations) assessments measure a learner’s change.

Meeting the Standards
The assessments employed must specifically measure stated learning objectives. A lack of alignment between the learning objectives and the assessment equates to a critical flaw in the educational design of a program. When the assessment is not directly tied to the learning objectives, a provider is not assessing the plan or the execution of the program. The opportunity to demonstrate the value of the program is missed. Taking attendance and noting participation, or evaluating the participant’s satisfaction, while important, does not measure learning.

Common Types of Assessments
Knowledge-based Assessments “Knows”
Knowledge-based assessments are the most well-known, measuring the participant’s acquisition of knowledge. Focusing on the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1956) these assessments require participants to recall facts or explain their understanding of ideas or concepts.

Competence-based Assessments “Shows How”
Competence-based assessments focus on ability. Competence is knowledge put into action or applied. Learners demonstrating competence can describe what they would do, “how to”, knowing how, or are able to independently make specific plans incorporating facts, skills and circumstances.

Practice-based Assessment “Does”
Practice-based assessments put the learner’s competence into action. Here, the participant translates the learning effectively and directly into practice.

Applying Assessments

The following graphic demonstrates how the level of the learning objective should correspond with the assessment level. Multiple learning objectives and corresponding assessment types are frequently employed in a single program and learning.

Graphic   Final

*The examples provided are for demonstrative purposes only, simplified to explain how to match learning objectives to assessments. BOC Approved Providers will use different verbiage and many other kinds of knowledge, competence, and practice-based assessments and learning objectives to meet their learners’ needs.

Bloom, B. S. (1956). “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain.” New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Moore, D. E., Jr, Green, J. S., & Gallis, H. A. (2009). Achieving desired results and improved outcomes: integrating planning and assessment throughout learning activities. The Journal of continuing education in the health professions, 29(1), 1–15.

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