Evaluation of outcomes of a formative objective structured clinical examination for second-year UK medical students.Int J Med Educ. 2015 Jun 21; 6:76-83.IJ
To explore how formative OSCEs influence student performance and perception when undertaking summative OSCEs.
We introduced formative OSCEs for second-year medical students at a large London medical school. Examination data from both formative and subsequent summative OSCEs were analysed to determine the effect on summative OSCE performance. We gathered student perceptions using an anonymous online survey tool. The data was investigated using a standard scale of 1 to 5 and qualitative analysis of free text.
Overall, 46.6% and 85.0% of students passed the formative and summative OSCEs respectively. Formative OSCEs did not improve overall pass rates in summative OSCEs. Inclusion of an individual formative station was associated with improved performance in that station in summative OSCEs, with one exception. Formative OSCEs had a positive predictive value of 92.5% for passing the summative OSCE but limited negative predictive value. Students who passed fewer than two out of three formative OSCE stations were significantly more likely to fail the summative OSCE (78.2% vs 89.7%, p <0.001). Students felt formative OSCEs were good exam preparation and suggested logistical changes.
Formative OSCEs were associated with improved performance in subsequent summative OSCEs only for identical stations. They did not improve overall pass rates in summative OSCEs, and did not predict performance well. Students viewed the formative OSCE as a positive and useful activity. However, to maximise its benefit as a tool for learning, students need better communication about the role and purpose of formative OSCEs.