Experiences in adding multiple-choice questions to an objective structural clinical examination (OSCE) in undergraduate dental education

Authors

  • R. Näpänkangas,

    1.  Department of Prosthetic Dentistry and Stomatognathic Physiology, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
    2.  Oral and Maxillofacial Department, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
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  • V. Harila,

    1.  Oral and Maxillofacial Department, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
    2.  Department of Oral Development and Orthodontics, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
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  • S. Lahti

    1.  Oral and Maxillofacial Department, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
    2.  Department of Community Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
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Näpänkangas Ritva
Department of Prosthetic Dentistry and Stomatognathic Physiology
Institute of Dentistry
University of Oulu
PO Box 5281
FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Tel: +358 40 713 7077
Fax: +358 8 537 5560
e-mail: ritva.napankangas@oulu.fi

Abstract

In the University of Oulu, the competencies of fourth-year dental students have traditionally been assessed with a written examination before they go to work for the first time as dentists outside the Institute of Dentistry. In 2009, the objective structural clinical examination (OSCE) modified with multiple-choice questions was introduced as a tool for assessing clinical competencies. The aim of the study was to evaluate the validity of the modified OSCE (m-OSCE) by measuring the attitude of examiners (teachers) and dental students towards the m-OSCE and to evaluate whether the OSCE is preferred to the written examination in the assessment of knowledge and clinical skills. Additionally, the aim was to evaluate the reliability of the multiple-choice examination. Altogether 30 students (86%) and 11/12 examiners (92%) responded to the questionnaire. Most of the students considered the multiple-choice questions easy, but complained about the complex formulation of the questions. The test stations were easy for 87% of the students, but the time allocated was too short. Most of the students (73%) and examiners (91%) preferred the m-OSCE to the written examination. All students and examiners found the immediate assessment of the tasks good. Based on the evaluations of m-OSCE, it could be concluded that both students and examiners preferred the m-OSCE to the pure written examination in assessment, which indicate that m-OSCE had good face validity. Combining multiple methods in assessment of knowledge and clinical skills whilst simultaneously taking into account the feasibility and available resources provides more valid results.

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