African medical schools need to consider problem based learning
African medical schools should adopt problem based oral examinations to test students' performance, says a new study. At present, African universities examine medical students using essays and short answer questions.
The study, which looked at the six most commonly used methods of assessment--long essay questions, short answer questions, multiple choice questions, patient clinical examination, problem based oral examination, and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)--evaluated each method in terms of its ability to test students' performance. Researchers also considered the cost, suitability, and safety of each method.
The study showed that OSCEs are the most effective assessment method. But lack of funding in Africa makes their introduction impossible, despite the trials of lower budget versions of OSCEs.
Although OSCEs are widely used in developed countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, many other developing countries still use the same assessment methods as used in Africa.