International Journal of Basic and Applied Physiology

Key Words: Objective structured practical examination, Traditional clinical examination, Faculty perception Author for correspondence

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Key Words: Objective structured practical examination, Traditional clinical examination, Faculty perception

Author for correspondence: Pinaki Wani, 5, Deepa CHS, Sec – 2 A, Airoli, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 400708, India, E- mail:

Introduction: The aim of medical education is to produce competent doctors with sound clinical skills. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has developed six inter-related domains of competency which are knowledge, patient care, professionalism, communication and interpersonal skills, practice based learning and improvement, and systems based practice1. To initiate active learning, the assessment tools needs to be effective and crucial. It has been widely accepted that assessment of students’ performance and clinical competence, along with the measurement of knowledge, should contribute to the students' overall evaluation since assessment drives learning 2. Brown and Knight rightly stated that, ‘Assessment is at the heart of the student experience’3. This is also known as steering effect of examination. "Steering effect" means that the students learn best those subjects on which they expect to be examined 4. This effect should be taken into account when evaluating students. The process of assessment can be defined as taking a sample of student work, making inferences from it and then estimating his/her worth in terms of marks or grades. The nature of assessment tasks influences the approaches to learning which students adopt2,3,5. Newble and Jaeger6 described that by changing clinical assessment tool in the final year from a pass/fail system based on ward reports, to a clinical practical examination increased the time spent by medical students on the wards. Hence, the current focus of medical education in India is to improve the assessment tools which can positively influence the quality of medical education and the health care system7. At present, in Maharashtra, India, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) Nashik, grants MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree after successful completion of 9 semesters of pre-clinical, paraclinical and clinical subjects. Human Physiology is taught as a pre-clinical subject in the first 2 semesters of the MBBS course8. A traditional clinical examination (TCE) in physiology involves performing a particular clinical procedure followed by the bedside viva voce. The assessment of the student in TCE is based on global performance rather than candidate’s individual clinical competency9,10. TCE mainly focuses on the “knows” and “knows how” aspects, i.e., the base of the ‘Miller’s pyramid of competence 11.
It was felt that there is a need for 1) a more objective, structured assessment method and 2) sensitisation of the faculty towards the newer assessment systems like OSPE.We also wanted to modernise our assessment methods and make it more competence based. Hence as a part of the FAIMER (Foundation of Advancement in International Medical Education and Research) project, an OSPE was introduced as a formal method of assessment for the first time in the first MBBS Human physiology 2nd semester since we believed that the OSPE is a standardised tool and focuses on the “shows how” aspects of the ‘Miller’s pyramid of competence11.It has proved advantages over the traditional assessment method by being objective and structured 9.The OSPE can also reduce the examiners’ variability in marking the students 10.
The current study was designed to understand the faculty’s perception of the OSPE in comparison with the TCE method in the field of Physiology with respect to the range, objectivity, applicability and feasibility of the assessment tools and recommendations to make OSPE acceptable as a tool for formative and summative assessment.

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