Explicitly linking teaching and assessment of communication skills.Med Teach. 2007 May; 29(4):317-22.MT
Communication skills teaching is known to be effective, but students feel there are discrepancies between how communication skills are taught and how they are assessed.
This study examined the effect of using standard assessment criteria during communication skills teaching on students' performance in an end-of-year summative OSCE.
Students attending their year 3 communication skills teaching were randomised to one of the following three conditions: the assessment criteria were available for reference on the medical school website; or students received the assessment criteria for use in the discussion and feedback; or each student's performance was graded by him- or her-self, his or her peers, the tutor and the actor using the standard assessment criteria.
There was no significant difference in the end-of-year OSCE performance of students who received the three different conditions. Actively using standard assessment criteria during teaching did not therefore improve OSCE performance. There were low but significant correlations between the tutors' assessment and the students' self-assessment and between the tutors' assessment and the peer group's assessment.
The congruence between observers in the assessments of role-played consultations using the standard assessment criteria indicates that the criteria may be helpful for summarizing feedback to students.