Research

Student and staff perceptions and experiences of the introduction of Objective Structured Practical Examinations: A pilot study

Jose M Frantz, Michael Rowe, Danelle A Hess, Anthea J Rhoda, Berenice L Sauls, Liezel Wegner

Abstract


Background. The Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) is widely recognised as one of the more objective methods of assessing practical skills in healthcare programmes, including undergraduate physiotherapy curricula. 

Objectives. To obtain feedback from both students and staff who were involved in the introduction of an OSPE in 2011, in order to refine and standardise the format throughout the curriculum. 

Methods. A qualitative research design was used. Data were gathered through a questionnaire with semi-structured open-ended items and focus group discussion. Participants were all third-year undergraduate physiotherapy students (N=47) and all staff members (N=10) in the 2011 academic year who were exposed to the OSPE format or were involved in the first OSPE. 

Results. The main concerns raised by both students and staff were: (i) pressure due to time constraints and how this might affect student performance; and (ii) the question of objectivity during the assessment. However, their initial concerns changed as they experienced the OSPE in a more positive manner owing to the structure and objectivity of the process of implementing the OSPE. 

Conclusion. While both students and staff reported positive experiences, the challenges that emerged provided valuable insight in terms of refining the OSPE format in this undergraduate physiotherapy department.


Authors' affiliations

Jose M Frantz, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Michael Rowe, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Danelle A Hess, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Anthea J Rhoda, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Berenice L Sauls, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Liezel Wegner, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

OSPE; Objective Structured Practical Examination; Physiotherapy; Undergraduate students

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2013;5(2):72-74. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.218

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-12-11
Date published: 2013-10-28

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