Evaluation of e-OSPE as compared to traditional OSPE: A pilot study

Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2021 Mar 4. doi: 10.1002/bmb.21500. Online ahead of print.


Objectively Structured Clinical/Practical Examination (OSCE/OSPE) has been the backbone of the assessment system of graduate medical education for over three decades. We have developed an electronic Objectively Structured Practical Examination (e-OSPE) in Medical Biochemistry using the freely available Google forms to mitigate the academic disruption posed by COVID-19 pandemic in our resource-poor setting. Ten e-OSPE stations created, interlinked, and time-restricted. Fifty undergraduate students appeared for the e-OSPE examination on a prefixed date and time. Learner feedback was collected immediately after the completion of the examination. Facilitator feedback was also collected. Students' mean scores in e-OSPE and traditional OSPE were 78.15% and 74.56%, respectively. Their difference was not statistically significant (paired t-test two-tailed p-value 0.0979). Thus, the results of e-OSPE are reliable as compared to traditional OSPE. Bland Altman Plot revealed 92% of students had scores that were in the agreeable limit of both traditional OSPE and e-OSPE. Both the learners and facilitators were in consensus that the online format of e-OSPE is a good alternative for assessment (0.67 and 0.82); their experience was good (0.72 and 0.92) and conduction was well organized (0.73 and 0.86). Several suggestions were also received to make e-OSPE even more effective. In conclusion, this pilot study showed e-OSPE can be an effective alternative to traditional OSPE when "in-person" evaluation is not possible such as in the current era of COVID-19 even in resource-limited settings.

Keywords: OSPE; assessment of educational activities; e-OSPE; formative assessment; international health education in developing and developed countries; medical education.