Aim: To assess pharmacy students’ perceptions and acceptance of Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Method: A cross-sectional survey using a 32-item questionnaire was distributed to four groups of third-year pharmacy students. Two of the groups (group A) received and completed the questionnaire immediately after the exam, while the remaining two groups (group B) received and completed the questionnaire one week after the exam. This questionnaire allowed students to evaluate the structure and organisation of the OSCE, state their perceptions of the validity and reliability of the OSCE, and rate the OSCE in relation to other evaluation tools. Open-ended questions were also administered to the students to elicit written feedback about the positive and negative aspects of the examination as well as suggestions for its improvement.
Results: A significant difference was observed between students in groups A and B (74.3% versus 32.4%) with regard to views of the OSCE as comprehensive and covering a wide range of knowledge (Pearson Chi-square P=0.001). Sixty-five percent of students in group A felt that the exam encompassed a broad range of clinical skills. A substantial percentage of both groups A and B (57.1% and 40.5%, respectively) believed that the OSCE was an intimidating method of assessment. A considerable proportion of students in groups A (60%) and B (48.6%) agreed that the time allotment of 5 minutes per work station was insufficient to complete the task in question. Three-quarters to two-thirds of students (A, 77.1%; B, 64.9%) found the OSCE to be a useful method for learning real-life scenarios in clinical pharmacy.
Conclusion: In general, OSCE was accepted by a majority of the students. Students’ perceptions and feedback have necessitated the modification of the current OSCE to improve the effectiveness of this assessment method.