Getting through OSCEs
- By: Valerie Wass
Valerie Wass argues that the OSCE is the fairest assessment method The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is becoming the favoured method of clinical competence testing in undergraduate and postgraduate examinations. The examination, however, requires a high level of funding - more examiners, patients or role players, and equipment are necessary. The traditional long and short case examinations were more fun for the examiner, who could interact freely with the candidate, and they were, perhaps, more true to life. The new examinations may feel artificial and rather reductionist.
So why the change? The answer hinges on reliability. The stakes are high in clinical examinations - key decisions about whether the candidate qualifies as a doctor are being made. The pass or fail decision has to be consistent. There has to be a high degree of certainty that the candidates would be the same side of the pass or fail line