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Comparing Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and Traditional Clinical Examinations in the Summative Evaluation of Final-Year Medical Students.

Background: Medical schools have traditionally assessed medical students using long and short cases. Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) has been found to be more reliable.

Aim: To compare OSCE and traditional method of assessment in the summative assessment of final-year medical students.

Methodology: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study conducted at Enugu State University of Science and Technology College of Medicine. The Department of Internal Medicine organized clinical examinations consisting of long and short cases. The Department of Surgery organized an OSCE consisting of two parts (picture OSCE and clinical OSCE). Students' scores in both internal medicine and surgery were collated and subjected to analysis with SPSS version 23 (IBM; SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA). Pearson's correlation was used to assess the correlations, paired t -test was used to compare the mean scores, and Cronbach's alpha was used to assess the reliability. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Out of the 73 candidates, 41 were female and 32 were male giving a female: male ratio of 1.3:1. Using paired sample t test, there were significant differences between the mean score in long case (mean = 52.86, standard deviation [SD] = 4.315) and mean score in clinical OSCE (mean = 58.356, SD = 7.906), t (72) = -7.181, P = 0.000; mean score in short case (mean = 52.86, SD = 4.097) and mean score in picture OSCE (mean = 48.580, SD = 8.992, t (72) =4.558, P = 0.000; no significant difference between the mean total score in internal medicine clinicals (mean = 105.712, SD = 6.680) and mean total score in surgery clinicals (mean = 106.915, SD = 15.846), t (72) = -0.788, P = 0.433. The Cronbach's alpha for traditional examination and OSCE was 0.437 and 0.863, respectively.

Conclusion: OSCE gives a similar mean score to traditional method, but OSCE is more reliable.

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