Purpose: Oral exams are commonly used as formative assessment for graduate programs and medical specialty certification and claim to assess problem-solving, probe depth of knowledge, recognize safe and competent clinicians, and assess professionalism and ethics. This study explores discourse between examiners and candidates during oral examinations to understand how these exchanges during the exam are related to the outcomes of the candidates in mock oral examinations.
Methods: Mock oral examinations were studied to examine discourse between examiners and candidates. Video recordings of the sessions (N = 53) were collected and transcribed. A mixed-methods design was used to inform a theory of questioning, justification, and the determination of acceptable responses. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the discourse during these oral board examinations to understand how answers are assessed so that candidates can be more successful in how they present their responses during the examination. The scores of the exam questions, overall score, and examiner comments were provided correlation with the recordings.
Results: After reviewing the data, examiners overwhelmingly asked questions involving requests for additional details or facts (74%). Candidates spoke more during the examination than the examiners with the average of 65% ± 13% of the words being spoken by the candidate and 35% ± 13% of the words from the examiner.
Conclusion: Oral examinations can be a useful tool for evaluation if conducted with suitable assessment conditions. The questions should be well organized and examiners should receive appropriate training in asking valuable questions during the examination to be of greatest benefit to the candidate.
Not Applicable / None Entered.