STRUCTURED ORAL VIVA EXAMINATION AS AN ASSESSMENT TOOL IN PHARMACOLOGY
Dr. Shalini Salwan*, Dr. Jagminder Kaur Bajaj and Dr. Poonam Salwan
Background: The traditional viva examination which is still predominantly used in most of the medical institutions as one of the assessment methods has been associated with some demerits like lack of standardization, objectivity & reliability. It involves many faculty members resulting in variations in the time allotted to each student, number of questions asked, and difficulty level of the questions. To some extent, these can be resolved by structuring the oral examination to make it a better assessment tool. The present study was conducted to introduce structured oral examination (SOE) as a novel formative assessment tool for 3rd semester M.B.B.S. students in Pharmacology and evaluating the process by taking feedback from the students and faculty. Aim and Objectives: The study aims to introduce SOE in formative assessment of pharmacology and to sensitize the faculty about the process and to record the students’ and faculty’s perceptions about SOE. Methodology: All the subjects [3rd semester M.B.B.S. students (n=152)] were assessed by structured oral viva, thrice for different topics. Feedback in the form of a questionnaire was collected from the students. Questionnaire included various questions based on Likert scales ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Topic for the structured oral examination was pre-decided by the faculty members. A checklist of questions to be asked in the structured viva was prepared and their probable/most correct answers were discussed with the faculty. Students were intimated about the viva process well in advance. Results: One hundred fifty two second professional students participated and majority of them were satisfied after being assessed in oral structured viva exam. The results obtained were: Examiner’s mood affecting performance: 49 (32%); appropriate time to answer the questions: 101 (66.4%), organization of the questions according to their difficulty level: 100 (65.8%); Stress level reduction with SOE: 58(38.2%); Reduction of bias by examiner: 68 (44.7%); Helpful in enhancing performance in final exam: 81(53.3%); covered whole of the topic: 76(50%); Interested in continuation of SOE: 85(56%) and Overemphasis on Examiner’s topic of interest in traditional viva : 32 (21%) Faculty members also expressed that structured oral examinations are better in terms of reducing bias and minimizing luck factor. In addition, uniformity of questions makes SOE a fair assessment tool. Conclusions: Most of the students and faculty favored structured oral examination approach of taking viva. It can be a better assessment tool and with some modifications in blueprinting will gain acceptance among the students as well as faculty.
Keywords: Learning and assessment, structured viva, theory and practical examinations.
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