Objective structured practical examination as a formative assessment tool for IInd MBBS microbiology students

Anuradha Mokkapati, G. Pavani, S. Manick Dass, M. Srinivas Rao


Background: Assessment drives learning. It is well known that conventional or Traditional Practical Examination (TPE) has several limitations, especially in terms of subjectivity. In OSPE the procedures are standardized, so objectivity is ensured and also reliability maximized. Objectives of the study were to compare TPE & OSPE examination in formative assessment for IInd MBBS microbiology students on the topic culture media and to obtain feedback from students attending OSPE, and faculty.

Methods: 76 students were taught about culture media and simultaneously were sensitized about OSPE and TPE, which followed the next week. Informed consent was taken. All students were randomly divided into 2 batches (TPE and OSPE) based on roll call. 71 students were tested, 33 for OSPE and 38 for TPE. Eight OSPE stations were set up with 8 culture media, plus a rest station after station 4. TPE students went for viva-voce to one examiner for same eight culture media. Both OSPE and TPE students were evaluated for a score of 20. OSPE students and the faculty were given a pre-validated questionnaire for feedback.

Results: Mean scores, standard deviation (SD) and “p” values were calculated using the T-test from the scores obtained. The mean scores for OSPE and TPE were found to be statistically significant- p-value <0.01. Feedback from OSPE students & faculty was also evaluated.

Conclusions: OSPE is more structured and eliminates examiner bias better, and should be practiced in formative assessments and also be introduced in summative assessments.


Faculty, Feedback, Formative assessment, OSPE, TPE

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