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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 46-51

Appropriateness of using oral examination as an assessment method in medical or dental education


Department of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene, Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ghousia Rahman
P.O.BOX: 84891, Riyadh: 11681
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.103674

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This paper describes the appropriateness of using oral examination as an assessment method in medical or dental education. It highlights the rationale for using oral exam and it also discusses the usefulness of adopting oral exam as an assessment tool. Oral Examination is a form of assessment where a set of stimulus questions are developed that address critical areas of knowledge or sets of abilities related to a competency or set of competencies. Students are expected to respond verbally in their own words, which allow an assessment of the student's depth of comprehension, and capacity to apply knowledge and insights to different situations. Responses to the questions are assessed using a rating scale or scoring system. In practice, oral exams were used not as a substitute, but as a complement to written exams. They are a way to ask what is not feasible through the written format. The paper reviews literature to explore the strengths and weaknesses of using an oral exam as an assessment tool. The paper concludes by offering a set of alternatives and recommendations to improve the utility of the oral exam methodology. Substantial work, however, is needed to develop the traditional oral examination into a 'best practice oral' format appropriate for medical or dental education.


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