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Measuring Clinical Competence of Dental Students in the Operative Clinics by Using Objective Structured Clinical Exam(OSCE) as Clinical Assessment Tool

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Assessment represents a critical component of successful education in the skills, knowledge, affective processes, and professional values that define the competent practice of dentistry

In recent years, there have been reports in the dental education literature of pedagogical innovations such as problem-based or case-reinforced learning, patient simulations, web-based learning, service-learning, and other strategies designed to help students develop critical appraisal skills.

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Since its introduction as a mode of students’ assessment in medical school in 1975, by Haden and Gleeson, the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) has become a standard method of assessment in both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Originally described as ‘a timed examination in which medical students interact with a series of simulated patients in stations that may involve history-taking, physical examination, counselling or patient management, the OSCE examination has been broadened in its scope and has undergone a lot of modification to suit peculiar circumstances. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and indeed most reputable colleges of medicine the OSCE is the standard mode of assessment of competency, clinical skills, and counselling sessions satisfactorily complementing cognitive knowledge testing in essay writing and objective examination

The OSCE is a versatile multipurpose evaluative tool that can be utilized to evaluate health care professionals in a clinical setting. It assesses competency, based on objective testing through direct observation. It is comprised of several "stations" in which examinees are expected to perform a variety of clinical tasks within a specified time period against criteria formulated to the clinical skill, thus demonstrating competency of skills and/or attitudes.

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OSCE stations can be educational tools for CR, pattern recognition and problem-based learning [Salinitri FD, O'Connell MB]. To foster the ability of putting it all together, Furmedge et al. suggested an early exposure of students to OSCEs. However, they concurrently highlighted the need to identify how early OSCE exposure could contribute to development of non-analytical reasoning skills. When analysing feedback upon completion of the OSCE cycle, Haider and colleagues summarised students` appreciation of this type of assessment, which supported their individual abilities to identify areas of clinical weakness, thus inspiring their interest in developing information processing skills [Haider I, Kahn A, Imam SM]. Baker et al. introduced three strategies for developing CR, hypothesis testing, forward thinking and pattern recognition [Baker EA, Ledford CH, Fogg L]. They developed a specific assessment tool for the interpretative summary, differential diagnosis, explanation of reasoning and alternative diagnostics [IDEA]

OSCEs were described as a means of valuable feedback for both, examinee and educator, that enables the reinforcement of the importance of SA as an underlying requirement for well-informed CR in all disciplines. Feedback provided upon completion of OSCE scenarios could support the faculty’s appraisal and the examinees` self-rating of the sense-making process when selecting best clinical diagnosis and therapeutic options.

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For the most part, students who do not perform well on the OSCE may require closer monitoring of their clinical performance and receive additional guidance during the early stages of clinical training

Similarly, students who do perform well may be challenged at earlier stages and provided with more complex patients. The results presented in this article indicate that a comprehensive, multidisci-plinary OSCE administered before the beginning of clinical training can be a reliable and valid diagnostic educational tool in the process of predoctoral dental education.

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Baker EA, Ledford CH, Fogg L, Way DP, Park YS. The IDEA assessment tool: assessing the reporting, diagnostic reasoning, and decision-making skills demonstrated in medical students' hospital admission notes. Teach Learn Med. 2015;27(2):163–73.

Daud-Gallotti RM, Morinaga CV, Arlindo-Rodrigues M, Velasco IT, Martins MA, Tiberio IC. A new method for the assessment of patient safety competencies during a medical school clerkship using an objective structured clinical examination. Clinics. 2011;66(7):120.

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