Objectively structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) for a Year 1 dental student is a highly stressful situation. It is related to the new format of assessment and the stress of any assessment that determines the student’s progression. The mock OSCEs conducted in the school consists of few stations that show the format and the sample content of an OSCE. The mock OSCEs does not allow repeated self-evaluation and feedback. The number of pre-OSCEs are very limited due to the cost and administrative burden. The University of Southampton conducts a PrOSCE where students rotate the roles of ‘student’, ‘examiner’ and ‘patient’ in six simulated stations designed by their peers. There are freely and paid available online and library resources designed to help medical students practice for OSCEs, but none I could find for dental students. The Université de Paris reported a study on a OSCEgame for preparing dental students.

The revised curriculum in the school enhances the learning by having early clinical exposure from year 1. The course of periodontology consists of OSCE summative examination. I developed formative tests in online moodle platform on all the learning outcomes of OSCE. The tests has a clinical scenario and relevant resources with a series of questions in Single Best Answer (SBA) format with feedback. The history taking station, for example, has a clinical scenario with responses of the patient. The students self-assessed on their interpretation and understanding of the history towards diagnosis and management. For the communication station, relevant information in form of clinical scenario, radiographs, periodontal charts, clinical photograph were provided. The students evaluated themselves on the diagnosis, explanation to patients in lay man language of the disease and management. A survey of two cohorts of students who experienced the formatives gave very positive feedback. This also reflected in their performance of the summative OSCEs in Year 1 professional examination.

There are few challenges in developing and implementing formatives. The teachers’ perception and acceptance are a major challenge or opportunity. A study on 4 Sudanese schools concluded that there is misunderstanding and malpractice in implementing formative assessment attributed to the lack of understanding of FA as well as the lack of resources. “Is it ethical to pre-empt the students with possible questions disguised as formative assessment?” “It is quite time consuming”. The students don’t see a benefit in assessments that don’t contribute directly to the summative “marks”.

Understanding perceptions of teachers who develop and implement formatives for OSCE is important. I have an opportunity to understand perceptions that can lead to recommendations. Do approach me if you like to participate in the qualitative study,  where I interview you to understand your perceptions and experience on formative assessments. Do provide your comments.

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