Medical students to resit exams after online leak discovered
The aspiring doctors were told on Tuesday their end-of-course practical assessment, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), would have to be taken again by the entire cohort due to the online “collusion”.
Results of the first exam will be void, an action a spokesman for the university said was “in an abundance of caution to ensure the skills of our students are rigorously and fairly tested before they graduate in medicine.”
“We’re uncomfortable with the prospect of students with detailed prior knowledge,” head of the school of medicine, dentistry and nursing Professor Matthew Walters said.
“It undermines the quality of the exam.”
The exam tests students’ practical abilities in hospital settings, including examination and diagnosis of real patients.
These exam scenarios were allegedly leaked by a “small number” of students via Facebook, WhatsApp as well as the school’s own messaging platform to course mates who have yet to take the test.
Two students allegedly linked to the leak face disciplinary and fitness to practice action, with severe consequences, including being barred from becoming a doctor. More investigation is underway, as well as a ramping up of the school’s monitoring of social media sites.
The resit is fixed for the start of May, while any resits from the May date will be done later the same month. According to Walters, “considerable effort” is expected for the resit, such as planning new venues, examiners, patients and exam material.
Social media leaks are a “big deal” for universities as a whole, and those who run OSCE exams “have to take security very seriously”, Walters said.
While disappointed, students and staff understood the school’s action to uphold a trusted assessment.
“The class essentially recognise and understand the need for a robust and thorough assessment prior to their graduation and are accepting of the decision to rerun the whole exam,” Walters said.