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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • anatomy practical examination;
  • physical therapy education;
  • assessment of performance;
  • Bloom's taxonomy;
  • oral examination;
  • viva voce examination

The process of creating and administering traditional tagged anatomy laboratory examinations is time consuming for instructors and limits laboratory access for students. Depending on class size and the number of class, sections, creating, administering, and breaking down a tagged laboratory examination may involve one to two eight-hour days. During the time that a tagged examination is being created, student productivity may be reduced as the anatomy laboratory is inaccessible to students. Further, the type of questions that can be asked in a tagged laboratory examination may limit student assessment to lower level cognitive abilities and may limit the instructors' ability to assess the students' understanding of anatomical and clinical concepts. Anatomy is a foundational science in the Physical Therapy curriculum and a thorough understanding of anatomy is necessary to progress through the subsequent clinical courses. Physical therapy curricula have evolved to reflect the changing role of physical therapists to primary caregivers by introducing a greater scope of clinical courses earlier in the curriculum. Physical therapy students must have a thorough understanding of clinical anatomy early in the education process. However, traditional anatomy examination methods may not be reflective of the clinical thought processes required of physical therapy students. Traditional laboratory examination methods also reduce student productivity by limiting access during examination set-up and breakdown. To provide a greater complexity of questions and reduced overall laboratory time required for examinations, the Physical Therapy Program at Mercer University has introduced oral laboratory examinations for the gross anatomy course series. Anat Sci Educ 6: 271–276. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.