Background: The Objective Structured Teaching Encounter (OSTE) has been proposed as a means of promoting and assessing the teaching skills of medical faculty.
Aims: To describe the uses of the OSTE and the evidence supporting its effectiveness.
Method: MEDLINE (January 1966 through February 2010) was searched for English-language studies detailing the use of an OSTE for any educational purpose. Reference lists from relevant review articles and identified studies were also searched. Of the 354 papers initially identified, 22 were included in the review.
Results: The OSTE has been used to assess and improve teaching performance and to assess the impact of other means of faculty development. Although qualitative results have been generally positive, there is little quantitative data to support using the OSTE as a means of improving teaching performance. There is moderate evidence suggesting the OSTE is a reliable and valid means of assessing teaching, although few ratings instruments have been adequately studied.
Conclusions: The OSTE is a promising innovation with potential application to assessing and promoting the teaching skills of medical faculty. Further study is required to determine the most effective OSTE design.