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Validation and evaluation of new assessments for the otolaryngology undergraduate medical clerkship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2015

R Woods*
Department of Otolaryngology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
T Subramaniam
Department of Otolaryngology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
A Patterson
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
M Hennessy
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
C Timon
Department of Otolaryngology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Address for correspondence: Mr Robbie Woods, Trinity Department of Otolaryngology, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, Ireland E-mail:



To validate and evaluate a short answer question paper and objective structured clinical examination. Validity and effect on overall performance were considered.


Students completed a voluntary short answer question paper during their otolaryngology attachment. Short answer question paper results were collated and compared to the essay examination and new end of year objective structured clinical examination.


The study comprised 160 students. Questions were validated for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.76). Correlations were determined for: short answer question paper and essay results (r = 0.477), short answer question paper and objective structured clinical examination results (r = 0.355), and objective structured clinical examination and essay results (r = 0.292). On unpaired t-tests comparing the short answer question paper group and non-short answer question paper group, essay results were 1.2 marks higher (p = 0.45) and the objective structured clinical examination results were 0.09 marks lower (p = 0.74) in the short answer question paper group.


Two new valid summative assessments of student ability have been introduced, which contribute to an enhanced programme of assessment to drive student learning.

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Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited 2015 

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Presented at the Irish Otolaryngology Society annual meeting, 11 October 2014, Donegal, Ireland.


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