We have made available here the submissions (below) that the Adelaide Medical Students' Society (AMSS) put to the Assessment Committee regarding their plan to abolish the compulsory summative end-of-year Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in Fourth Year, as promised at the AMSS Fourth Year Welcome on Monday 24 January 2011. As you will be aware this plan to abolish the end-of-year OSCE in Fourth Year has been approved. Click here to view the submissions.
Please note that the AMSS Assessment Policy available here is a draft only. This was subsequently presented to the AMSS Committee on Monday 4 April 2011 and passed with minor change. It is available for viewing here.
As is mentioned in our submission, we would also like to note here that the Assessment Committee applies strictly limited resources to achieve optimal student outcomes. Students should recognise the members of this Assessment Committee make decisions with the best interests of students at heart.
The AMSS is aware that there is a significant amount of consternation amongst the current Fourth Year cohort regarding both the changes to assessment within Fourth Year, and the response of the AMSS to these changes. We are very eager to be transparent with our membership and to ensure that we are indeed representing the majority student opinion. This is why these documents have been made accessible online, and why we are actively seeking student opinion and input.
There have been a number of developments since these documents were written and sent. In particular, the AMSS became aware in early February that the planned changes to end-of-rotation assessment may not have adequately supplemented the feedback lost to Fourth Years through the abolition of the end-of-year Fourth Year OSCE. This would have been problematic because it could have meant that students may have proceeded through Fourth Year and reached their Barrier Examinations in Fifth Year having never had any experience with an OSCE station on, for example, surgery or orthopaedics. Furthermore the failure to introduce commensurate end-of-rotation assessment throughout Fourth Year would mean that students receive less overall feedback on their performance, thereby depriving them of opportunities to tailor and focus their learning.
The AMSS became seriously concerned about these developments because we perceived them to represent an overall diminution in the educational experience being offered in Fourth Year. We continue to be particularly worried by the fact that these changes are directly the result of increasing student numbers and consequent inadequate funding for the Medical Program. We thought it would be pertinent to act quickly to express our principle-based position that the removal of the end-of-year OSCE in Fourth Year should not result in an overall reduction in the amount of assessment and feedback that is provided to students. To satisfy this standpoint the end-of-rotation assessment that occurs for the four major Fourth Year rotations (Medical Home Unit, Surgical Home Unit, Psychological Health, Musculoskeletal Medicine) must be increased to a level which adequately supplements the assessment previously included in the now-extinct end-of-year OSCE. Letters to this effect were sent to the relevant Heads of the Disciplines; you can view these letters here.
We acknowledge that we did not seek student opinion prospectively on this issue, and this was a shortfall. We apologise if any member feels as if they have not been adequately consulted on the matter. Unfortunately the rapidity of the changes left insufficient time for a survey to be created, implemented and then summarised for advocacy to the University of Adelaide. Nonetheless we actively collected student opinion on this matter retrospectively in the Australian Medical Council (AMC) survey. Our position based on the importance of ensuring commensurate increases in end-of-rotation clinical assessment in Fourth Year was reinforced by the results of this survey. Of the 138 respondents from the current Fourth and Fifth Year cohorts, 92% of students opposed the removal of the end-of-year OSCE in Fourth Year. Respondents were also asked to predict the impact of the removal of the end-of-year OSCE on the consolidation of clinical knowledge acquired in Fourth Year. The mode response to the associated six-point Likert scale (where 1 represented ‘significantly decrease’ and 6 represented ‘significantly increase’) was 1 and the mean response was 2.3. Qualitative comments supported these concerns and emphasised the importance of adequate feedback for students.
We were pleased to observe that most core clinical rotations in Fourth Year effectively introduced novel clinical end-of-rotation assessment following our advocacy. We wrote follow-up letters to the relevant Heads of Disciplines, thanking them for their efforts and explaining the student opinion collected through our AMC survey. In the case of the Musculoskeletal Medicine rotation, we also highlighted the importance of improving consistency in the rotation between teaching sites. You can view these letters here
If you have any particularly strong feelings, please feel free to contact either Karthik Venkataraman (email@example.com
) or Tom Crowhurst (firstname.lastname@example.org
). We are also very happy to speak about these issues over the phone.
Letters to Heads of Disciplines
View online (below), or click here to download the pdf.