Objective structured practical examination for formative assessment of post-graduates

Manoj Gopal Madakshira


Background: Formative evaluation has been carried out in the graduate training programme of most medical schools. These assessments play an important role in helping a student to become aware about his/her shortcomings and plan a course correction before appearing for the final assessment. Periodic formative assessment also helps the teachers/ mentors in medical education to evaluate the level of interest and appreciation of a subject. Observed structured practical examination as a tool for formative assessment of post-graduate students is an interesting option, which tests the cumulative skills acquired by a student. A study was undertaken to implement OSPE for postgraduate students followed by a feedback questionnaire to assess their perception of this type of evaluation. 

Methods: An OSPE designed as per the various aspects of the post graduate course in pathology was taken by the post graduate trainees. The results of the OSPE and the residents’ opinion on the feedback questionnaire were analysed. The results were compiled on a data sheet and analysed using Microsoft Excel.

Results: The results of the OSPE showed an average to above average performance by the postgraduates. The feedback questionnaire showed a consensus of OSPE based formative assessment to be a better alternative to conventional examination.

Conclusions: The study shows that formative assessment in a post graduate is an essential component of the programme and that OSPE as a tool for such an evaluation is well accepted by the students. Formative assessment by OSPE needs to be incorporated into the medical post graduate programme.


Formative, OSPE

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