Evaluating The Objective Structured Clinical Examination

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ASSESSING CLINICAL LEARNING: ASSESSMENT TASK 2 Validity of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in Physiotherapy Education Introduction The assessment of clinical competence is an important part of entry-to-practice health professional training. Physiotherapy education strives to produce entry-to-practice graduates who are able to safely and effectively manage patient care in an independent manner. As physiotherapy students transition from the academic setting in to the clinical setting, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is often used as a means of determining student’s preparedness for safe and effective clinical practice. The OSCE has been a revolutionary form of assessment, first described in the medical field and now widely applied in a number of different health professions, including physiotherapy (Alsenany and Al Saif, 2012 and Newble, 2004). First introduced in 1975 by Harden and colleagues as an alternative to the traditional long and short case assessments used to evaluate medical student performance, the OSCE is now generally accepted as a means of reliably and validly assessing the ability of the health professional to function in a variety of clinical contexts (Swanson, Norman and Linn, 1995, Yudkowsky, 2009 and Downing and Haladyna, 2009). Use of the OSCE has been reported in many different health profession training programmes, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy (Wessel,
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