OBJECTIVES: The principal aim of this study is to provide an account of variation in UK undergraduate medical assessment styles and corresponding standard setting approaches with a view to highlighting the importance of a UK national licensing exam in recognizing a common standard. METHODS: Using a secure online survey system, response data were collected during the period 13 - 30 January 2014 from selected specialists in medical education assessment, who served as representatives for their respective medical schools. RESULTS: Assessment styles and corresponding choices of standard setting methods vary markedly across UK medical schools. While there is considerable consensus on the application of compensatory approaches, individual schools display their own nuances through use of hybrid assessment and standard setting styles, uptake of less popular standard setting techniques and divided views on norm referencing. CONCLUSIONS: The extent of variation in assessment and standard setting practices across UK medical schools validates the concern that there is a lack of evidence that UK medical students achieve a common standard on graduation. A national licensing exam is therefore a viable option for benchmarking the performance of all UK undergraduate medical students.
MacDougall, M. (2015). Variation in assessment and standard setting practices across UK undergraduate medicine and the need for a benchmark. International Journal of Medical Education, 6, 125–135. https://doi.org/10.5116/ijme.560e.c964