Assessment Overload?

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Whilst the concept of curriculum overload has been around for a while, I wonder if we are now moving to a phase of Assessment Overload. Taking for example final year medical students, they typically rotate throughout the year to a number of specialities and undergo work place-based assessments (WPBA), either summative or formative. These may include directly observed procedural skills (DOPS), mini-clinical examinations (mini-CEX) and team assessment of behaviour (TAB), this list of acronyms could go on. Students may also be expected to produce a research or reflective report based on their elective which is summatively assessed. Students are then expected to ‘pass’ an Immediate Life Support (ILS) course, assessed by a Cas-Test (Simulated cardiac arrest) and then at the end of the year attend their final examinations, usually incorporating an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and depending on their medical school written examinations. Whilst this is already considered stressful enough for medical students (Radcliffe & Lester 2003), current political drive now includes the about-to-become mandatory Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) and following the publication of the Shape of Training Review and the possibility of full registration occurring at the end of medical school (Shape of Training 2013), already mumblings of a national medical school “exit” examination are being heard. Meanwhile, to secure a Foundation Post in the UK students are ranked according to their performance on the Situational Judgement Test (SJT), sat in their final year at medical school, which counts for 50% of their mark towards their ranking (UKFPO 2013). Whilst undoubtedly assessment is vital, have we gone too far and are now overloading our medical students with assessments?
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2014


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