n South African Psychiatry Review - The assessment of undergraduate psychiatry training : a paradigm shift : original article

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1811-7805



The aim of this paper was to describe and compare the results of students in psychiatry at various training sites during the course of an academic year at the University of Witwatersrand following recent reforms in training and assessment methods.

All fifth year medical students (in a six year course) in 2005 were included in the study. Students were assessed at the end of each six-week block. At the end of the year the performances of all groups of students, in each of the various assessment tools, were captured. Each set of assessments over the seven blocks was checked to determine if all the objectives set out in the curriculum were assessed. Comparisons were made between the mean marks obtained in each of the assessment tools by students at the four clinical sites and over the seven blocks
191 students were assessed in 2005. The overall results of the various assessment tools were as follows: mean ward performance mark 14.6 (SD 1.07); mean case presentation mark 14.2 (SD 1.15); mean MCQ's mark 12.2 (SD 2.16); mean MEQ's mark 14.1 (SD 2.53); and mean OSCE mark 15.9 (SD 1.99). Three students failed (<60 marks) and had to repeat the block. Analysis of all the assessment tools in each of the seven blocks confirmed that all the objectives set out at the beginning of the course were assessed. One-way analysis of variance showed significant differences in the mean ward marks (p &lt;0.05); MCQ marks (p &lt;0.05); MEQ marks (p <0.05) and OSCE marks (p <0.05) between the groups in the seven blocks but no differences in the mean case presentation marks (p = 0.52). There were no significant differences in the mean ward marks (p &gt;0.05); case presentation mark (p&gt;0.05); MCQ marks (p &gt;0.05); MEQ marks (p >0.05) and OSCE marks (p >0.05) between the groups at the four clinical sites.
The revised process by Division of Psychiatry at the University of Witwatersrand seems to have brought about improvements in the training and assessment of students by virtue of consistency at the various sites and in the different blocks in the given academic year.

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