Table 1

Self-instruction package for A3 assessment tool: components and descriptions

1. Instructions for assessing problem-solving A3s (proposal stage)2-page document that explains the purpose (to improve the development of QI project proposals), introduces the other items in the package, explains how to learn to use the assessment tool and provides some practical tips in performing assessments.
2. A3 template1-page document that lists the most important content of a proposal A3, illustrates the layout and presentation of information and illustrates some relevant QI tools.
3. A3 content guide5-page document that includes (1) the purpose and use of A3 problem solving; (2) a description of each A3 section: title, background, current situation, problem statement, goal, analysis, countermeasures, action plan and follow-up plan; (3) a list of resources for A3 problem solving.
4. A3 assessment tool23-item assessment tool divided into 7 A3s sections. Each item has a 4-point rating scale that includes descriptive anchors. Each section has a space for written feedback. The tool also includes 10 additional items for raters who are familiar with the local context of the QI project being rated.
5. Description of ratings8-page document that reproduces the A3 assessment tool and for each item includes descriptions of the four levels of rating anchors. (The rating anchors have been incorporated into the assessment tool and appear when a cursor hovers over a rating option.)
6. Learning examples for practice and feedback:
  • 3 proposal A3s

  • A3 assessment tools to complete

  • A3 ratings and their explanations

Individuals learning to assess proposal A3s use these materials to try out performing assessments and receive feedback on their performance. The first A3 is exemplary, with an accompanying set of ratings and explanations of why this A3 content illustrates the highest ratings. The second and third proposal A3s have various deficiencies that result in many items having lower ratings. Learners complete an A3 assessment tool for an A3. Then learners receive immediate feedback by checking their ratings and reasoning with the provided ratings and explanations for various levels of ratings on items.
  • The A3 template is shown in figure 1. All other materials are included in online supplemental digital content.

  • QI, quality improvement.