Evaluation of Clinical Medicine in the Final Postgraduate Examinations in Family Medicine
Background: The Family Medicine Department, University of the Free State (UFS) recently supervised the MFGP assessments of the College of Medicine in South Africa (first sitting), as well as the final assessment of the M Med Fam programme of the UFS (second sitting). The examinations, which took place in October and November 2006, were subjected to an internal quality assurance evaluation with the view to improve the standard and reliability of the examinations. Methods: All the candidates, as well as the examiners who participated in the MFGP and M Fam Med examinations, were included in the evaluation. Opinions were obtained from the students and examiners for each assessment on a structured data form directly after the examinations. A Smits blueprint was established for the written paper. Results: The majority of the students assessed the OSCE as being fair, understood the questions and agreed with the time allocated per question. A broad variety of competencies were assessed in a structured manner, which enhances the reliability of the examinations. The examiners evaluated the OSCE as being well structured and fair, as well as testing for the competencies of a family physician. Good agreement was achieved between the two different sets of candidates and examiners, and similar marks were achieved despite the separate settings, thus enhancing the validity of the examinations. The structured oral was evaluated as being fair regarding the variety and relevance of the questions by all the candidates and examiners. The written paper was on a relatively high cognitive level and tested a broad spectrum of knowledge. Although it did not cover the entire module, skills and approaches necessary for problem solving were tested. If a student could master these problems, he/she should be able to manage other areas not covered in the paper. Conclusion: The authors are of the opinion that the quality evaluation of clinical medicine in the final postgraduate examinations in Family Medicine held at UFS in 2006 showed it to be authentic, fair, reliable and objective, and that it assessed competencies for real-life situations, as well as the theoretical knowledge, attitudes and values required for a family practitioner.
South African Family Practice Vol. 50 (1) 2008: pp. 67-67d