Objective structured practical examination (OSPE) as a tool in formative assessment of II MBBS students, in pathology

Ranga Rao D., Parameswari Babu U., Kalyan Chakravarthy C. V., Ramya N.


Background: Assessment drives the student learning. Regular periodical assessment not only improves learning habits, but also enhances the competence in all levels of medical education. Traditional practical examination is more subjective. It depends on examiners subjectivity, varying difficulty level of various experiments, and also internal marks variation etc. These flaws can be overcome by newer methods like OSPE. The aim of the study was to implement OSPE as a tool of internal assessment for practical skills in the II MBBS. To compare this with traditional practical examination (TPE). To obtain the students and faculty feedback regarding OSPE as a tool of assessment.

Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out for 158 students in II internal pathology practical examination for six days in the second week of September 2016 at Department of Pathology, Dr. Pinnamaneni Siddhartha institute of medical sciences & Research Foundation, Chinnaoutpalli. Faculty and students were sensitized; blueprint were used to arrange twenty OSPE stations for the exercises conducted as per TPE and for the same 25 marks as per TPE. Simultaneously, all the students were subjected to both TPE and OSPE at the same time and venue. TPE was assessed by two professors and OSPE by separate eight faculty members independently without interaction with the students. The procedural stations were evaluated by using checklist and the response stations which consisted of short answers and MCQs, facilitated correction. Feedback was given to the student on their performance and feedback was obtained from the students and faculty regarding OSPE by questionnaire with Yes/No answers.

Results: Performance score of students in OPSE (13.73 ±2.49) was higher as compared to TPE (9.27±1.86) which was statistically significant. Based on the response to the questionnaire, students perception towards OSPE was analyzed. Majority strongly agree OSPE to be fairer, more transparent and objective in comparison to TPE. In contrast, all the faculty members unanimously opined that OSPE was difficult to arrange, time taken and faculty versus students ratio was high for evaluation. Though, the faculty (91%) overall opined that OSPE should be included as a method of assessment.

Conclusions: Present study revealed that OSPE was acceptable, feasible and reliable to the students as well as for faculty for the internal assessment in pathology. Opinions of both students and faculties strongly agreed that OPSE is more effective objective assessment tool.


Assessment, Feedback, Objective structured practical examination, Traditional practical examination

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