Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology

: 2016  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 430--431

Undergraduate medical students' perspectives on objective structured practical examination in Pathology

Mangala Goneppanavar, Rajendra S Dhaka 
 Department of Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mangala Goneppanavar
Department of Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry

How to cite this article:
Goneppanavar M, Dhaka RS. Undergraduate medical students' perspectives on objective structured practical examination in Pathology.Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2016;59:430-431

How to cite this URL:
Goneppanavar M, Dhaka RS. Undergraduate medical students' perspectives on objective structured practical examination in Pathology. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Oct 24 ];59:430-431
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Introducing horizontal and vertical integration in the undergraduate medical curriculum are widely thought of by Medical Council of India in India. Keeping this in mind, we have designed stations on preclinical, radiological, and gross-microscopy correlation. Objective structured practical examination (OSPE) in Pathology for undergraduates was introduced for the first time in India by Ramnarayan in 1990.[1] Students' feedback is an important means of evaluating teaching-learning methodologies;[2] however, there are very few studies from India on undergraduate student feedback regarding OSPE Pathology. Hence, this study was taken.

Lickert 5-point scale score-based questionnaire survey was used for students' feedback about OSPE. Informed consent was taken from students before obtaining the feedback. OSPE was conducted as part of term end internal assessment examination for II MBBS V semester students in Pathology at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry. There were ten OSPE stations, eight response (unobserved) and two observed stations. The sequence of stations is given in [Table 1].{Table 1}

For a meaningful analysis, the questionnaire should be filled by not less than ten raters or 75% of the class, whichever is more.[2],[3] In this study, 102 of 136 students have participated in the feedback (response rate 75%). In this study, 62.74% felt OSPE is less stressful compared with the conventional examination, compared to varied responses of students regarding stressful nature of OSPE in other studies.[4] Similar to feedback in other studies 80% of our students also felt OSPE covers a wider range of topics. The majority of students 75% feel observed stations are easy and these should be continued, and 66.66% felt OSPE helps in identifying the difficulties in performing the procedural skills similar to feedback in other studies. Regarding difficulty level at systemic pathology I, II, and III, gross-microscopy correlation station, they feel the content of this is well covered in regular theory and practicals. Regarding OSPE implementation, nearly 50% felt it should be a part of summative assessment. However, majority 80% feel more orientation and training is required for certain stations such as image quiz, patho-radiological correlation, and preclinical correlation, before considering it for summative assessment. However, as highlighted by Ananthakrishnan in 1993, two decades down the line, still scenario remains same, and it may be difficult to consider for summative assessment of universities. However, keeping this in mind the tremendous advantages of OSPE at least it should be considered for formative assessment if not for summative assessment.[5]

Overall, our students feel OSPE is less stressful and covers a wider range of topics, thereby enhancing the learning process. Observed stations are accepted by our students because they feel it helps them to identify the lacuna in doing the procedures and motivates them to practice more. Students' feedback will not only help us in standardizing the stations but also in reinforcing the need for more training. There are few studies from India regarding this pattern and to know the validity and reliability more number of studies are required from various institutions across the country.


Authors especially thank Professor Narayanan K, Department of Community Medicine for guiding in designing the feedback form and Rajkumar Patil, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine for helping in analyzing the data.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Ramnarayan K. A more effective practical examination in pathology. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 1990;33:399-401.
2Seldin P. The use and abuse of student ratings of professors. Chron High Educ 1993;39:40-5.
3Amin Z, Chong YS, Hoo Eng K. Assessment in medical education: An overview. In: Practical Guide to Medical Student Assessment. Ch. 1. 2006 World Scientific Publishing Co.; Singapore.
4Bairy KL, Adiga S, Shenoy S, Magazine BC, Amberkar M, Kumari KM, et al. OSPE in pharmacology: Comparison with conventional method and students perspective towards OSPE. Br Biomed Bull 2014;2:218-22.
5Ananthakrishnan N. Objective structured clinical/practical examination (OSCE/OSPE). J Postgrad Med 1993;39:82-4.