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INTRODUCTION: Objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs) are a cornerstone of assessing the competence of trainee healthcare professionals, but have been criticised for (1) lacking authenticity, (2) variability in examiners' judgements which can challenge assessment equivalence and (3) for limited diagnosticity of trainees' focal strengths and weaknesses. In response, this study aims to investigate whether (1) sharing integrated-task OSCE stations across institutions can increase perceived authenticity, while (2) enhancing assessment equivalence by enabling comparison of the standard of examiners' judgements between institutions using a novel methodology (video-based score comparison and adjustment (VESCA)) and (3) exploring the potential to develop more diagnostic signals from data on students' performances. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The study will use a complex intervention design, developing, implementing and sharing an integrated-task (research) OSCE across four UK medical schools. It will use VESCA to compare examiner scoring differences between groups of examiners and different sites, while studying how, why and for whom the shared OSCE and VESCA operate across participating schools. Quantitative analysis will use Many Facet Rasch Modelling to compare the influence of different examiners groups and sites on students' scores, while the operation of the two interventions (shared integrated task OSCEs; VESCA) will be studied through the theory-driven method of Realist evaluation. Further exploratory analyses will examine diagnostic performance signals within data. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study will be extra to usual course requirements and all participation will be voluntary. We will uphold principles of informed consent, the right to withdraw, confidentiality with pseudonymity and strict data security. The study has received ethical approval from Keele University Research Ethics Committee. Findings will be academically published and will contribute to good practice guidance on (1) the use of VESCA and (2) sharing and use of integrated-task OSCE stations.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ open

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