The vision of the IDEAL Consortium is to enable medical schools that offer their curricula in English, to have cost-effective access to current, voluminous, high-quality banks of questions and stations suitable for:
To facilitate the vision, IDEAL's By-laws require that internationally recognized standards are met for:
In addition, Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) efforts include:
In the mid 1990s, two medical schools from Canada and China began sharing their assessment item banks, using a software platform developed in Canada for supporting item banking at the postgraduate level.
With the aid of teaching development grants obtained from Hong Kong's University Grants Committee, the software was substantially modified to support sharing of items, benchmarking performances and documenting use of each item among international schools with undergraduate medical curricula. The technological improvements significantly aided efforts to set up an international consortium in December 2000, with the original eight member schools now expanded to thirty. Three evidence-based tenets in medical education underlie these schools' collaboration:
This collaboration is referred to as the IDEAL (International Database for Enhanced Assessments and Learning) Consortium.