Methods of assessment used by osteopathic educational institutions

Published:August 27, 2012DOI:



      The methods used for assessment of students in osteopathic teaching institutions are not widely documented in the literature. A number of commentaries around clinical competency assessment have drawn on the health professional assessment literature, particularly in medicine.


      To ascertain how osteopathic teaching institutions assess their students and to identify issues associated with the assessment process.


      A series of focus groups and interviews was undertaken with osteopathic teaching institutions.


      Twenty-five participants across eleven osteopathic teaching institutions from the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and Australia.


      Four themes were identified from the focus groups: Assessing; Processes; Examining; Cost Efficiency. Institutions utilised assessment types such as multiple choice questions and written papers in the early years of a program and progressed towards the long case assessment and Objective Structured Clinical Examination in the later stages of a program. Although examiner cost and training were common themes across all of the institutions, they were perceived to be necessary for developing and conducting assessments.


      Most institutions relied on traditional assessment methods such as the long case assessment, however, there is increasing recognition of newer forms of assessment, such as the portfolio. The assessment methods employed were typically written assessments in the early years of a program, progressing to long case and Objective Structured Clinical Examination format assessments.


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