Objective. Assigning a failing grade to a student is one of the most important yet problematic responsibilities of a fieldwork educator, for it challenges both personal and professional values. This article describes and evaluates a 1-day course designed to prepare educators for this responsibility.
Method. The course was offered five times in 1989 and 1990 by the Derby School of Occupational Therapy, Derby, England, and was attended by 101 fieldwork educators. Surveys were administered to these educators immediately after the course and again 4 and 12 months later.
Results. Respondents reported increases in confidence and in their ability to differentiate between students’ competence and incompetence. These changes were related to three factors: an understanding of the affective responses associated with a fail scenario, the reinforcement of effective methods of supervision, and the maintenance of professional standards.
Conclusion. It is recommend that the topic of failure be included in all fieldwork educator training courses.