Elementary school children as standardized patients in a summative OSCE - A mixed-method study according to the Ottawa criteria for good assessment

Med Teach. 2021 Apr 30;1-9. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.1918656. Online ahead of print.


Background: The goal of the present study was to evaluate whether children as standardized patients (SPs) for a summative OSCE station fulfills the Ottawa criteria for good assessment.

Methods: Data for participating students (n = 124), raters (n = 11), and children (n = 127) were collected using questionnaires (students, raters), focus groups (raters), and interviews (children, raters). The psychometrics (including reproducibility) of this OSCE station were also analyzed according to quality indices.

Results: Validity, reproducibility, feasibility, educational effect, and acceptability were attained for this OSCE station. Students and raters accepted the new approach and evaluated it as fair and acceptable, with realism and validity. This OSCE station had a perceived positive educational effect for ∼30% of the students, who expected child SPs. Raters stated it as feasible to involve children. The children enjoyed their participation, which was acceptable and feasible. Statistical measures were in the recommended ranges and showed reproducibility.

Conclusion: Children as SPs for a summative OSCE station was perceived as fair, acceptable, realistic, and feasible by all stakeholders, and with perceived positive educational impact. This pediatric OSCE station fulfilled five of the seven Ottawa criteria for good assessment. Further studies are needed to investigate different pediatric stations.

Keywords: Elementary school children; summative OSCE.