March 1991

Sharing of Information by Students in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine (Drs Rutala and Taylor), Preparation for Clinical Medicine (Dr Rutala and Ms Leko), and Division of Academic Resources (Dr Witzke and Mr Fulginiti), College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(3):541-544. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400030089016

Increasing numbers of medical schools are using Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) to evaluate students. An Objective Structured Clinical Examination employs a multiple-station format and standardized patients to document students' clinical skills. A lengthy format is necessary; testing an entire class often necessitates multiple repetitions of the same examination. This dictates a need to minimize sharing of information among students. We studied six administrations of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination designed to measure skills. Analyses were conducted to detect changes in scores over the administrations as well as over the 8.5 hours of each day of testing. An increase in either might indicate information sharing had occurred. No significant increase occurred. If information was shared, it had no significant effect on scores. Skills a student uses to approach a patient should not change even if the patient's complaints are known.

(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:541-544)