NJBMS - Volume 7, Issue 2, October - December 2016

Pages: 99-105

Structured Oral Examination - A Valid And Reliable Assessment Tool For First Year MBBS Students

Author: D. Ponnudhali, Shital Bhandary, Evangeline Jones

Category: Medical Education

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BACKGROUND: Traditional Viva Examinations (TVE) have been used as a mode of assessment of medical students, for years. However, many researchers have reported the non-uniformity of questions, gender bias and lack of subject coverage as well as high anxiety, poor validity and reliability of TVE. Thus, Structured Oral Examinations (SOE) have evolved to address the concerns over TVE.


1. To compare the TVE and SOE scores in terms of inter-rater & internal consistency reliabilities and

2. To analyse the students as well as faculty feedbacks using Likert's scale.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted in a group of 75 students of 1st MBBS 2015-16 group, who were divided into 2 groups with two examiners for each group. One group of students were assessed by traditional as well as structured viva on the same day, whereas other group was assessed on the next day. Feedbacks were obtained from both students and faculty. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and Cronbach's alpha were calculated to assess the inter-rater and internal consistency reliabilities.

RESULTS: The mean score was lower on first day but it was high on second day for SOEs. Scores were consistent for different times of the day and examiners. Inter-rater reliability was positive (0.266 & 0.179) for SOEs whereas it was negative (-0.172) and positive (0.207) for first and second pair of examiners. All the SOEs and two TVEs had acceptable internal consistency reliabilities. SOEs had good internal consistency than TVEs for two exam days separately and it was acceptable, for combined SOEs and TVEs. Students and the teachers both felt that SOEs were uniform in the question pattern, covered the subject and must know areas well and enabled good time management.

CONCLUSION: The Structured Oral Examinations (SOEs) has an acceptable inter-rater reliability and good internal consistency reliabilities compared to the Traditional Viva Examinations (TVEs). Students feel very comfortable and relaxed with SOE, while the faculty find it a good tool, to ensure uniformity and coverage of must know areas.

Keywords: Traditional viva, Structured Oral Examination, inter-rater reliability, internal consistency reliability

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Editor in Chief of NJBMS Dr.Deepti Shastri, Professor and Head, Department of Anatomy, Academic Co-ordinator for Pre and Paraclinical Sciences, VMKV Medical College & Hospital, Salem.

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