02.   Is OSPE glorified spotting..

                    John Wooden
                       Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.


Homepage - OSCE and OSPE

Compiled Responses

 The Beginning

 01.   Introduction and Basics of OSPE/OSCE

 02.   Is OSPE glorified spotting.. 

  03.   How to set up OSCE and OSPE stations..

 04.   How to collect the answer-sheets in OSCE/OSPE from students.

 05.   OSCE reliability

 06.   Levels of competencies in evaluation

 07.   Practical experiences of OSPE/OSCE

 08.   OSCE in testing Communication and attitudes

  09   Should knowledge be accessed in OSCE/OSPE

 10.   Simulated patients

 11. Examiner training...a must to do...

12.   Standard setting in OSCE

 13.   Disadvantages of OSCE


How is OSCE/OSPE different from Spotting?

Is OSPE glorified spotting?

Anshu: I have had irate seniors asking me why the University is introducing hi-flown terms like OSPE, when it is nothing but glorified spotting! What do I say?

One obvious difference that I can see is that in OSPE some stations are observed. However in the hands of someone who doesn't know what to ask, OSPE does end up being glorified spotting. How does one decide what to ask? I think it needs creativity to make OSPE stations..... any opinions?

Praveen: You are very right.

1) OSPE appears as a glorified spotting, but in spotting we usually test the cognitive domain only while in OSPE we also test psychomotor & communication skills additionally.

2) In spotting and in many other such objective exams very importantly we test usually the END of the process while in OSPE we test the PROCESS itself either fully or its components.

Dinesh: I remember the session on validity and reliability, where most of you wanted to discuss more about all assessment methods. If you look at the attributes of OSPE/OSCE, OSPE fulfils most of the requirements of a good assessment method:


The results are accurate and consistent. There is same station and predetermined checklist, so interobserver variation is decreased to minimum. The difference in marks obtained in OSPE is because of ability of the student, rather than to extraneous factors.


It measures what it is supposed to measure. Patient variability and examiner variability are eliminated thus increasing the validity of the examination


 It is feasible to put OSPE into practice. A large number of students can be tested within a relatively short time.

Advantages: ·   

  •   It covers a broad range of clinical skills·     
  •   It ensures adequate sampling of skills and·   
  •   Contents the scoring is objective ·       
  •  There is scope for immediate feedback-teachers and students In addition to the above points,  ·     
  •   OSCE ensures integration of teaching and evaluation.·       
  •   Variety maintains student's interest. ·   
  •   There is increased faculty-student interaction.·    
  •   OSPE is adaptable to local needs.
So, in nutshell OSPE is feasible, valid and reliable.
However, some people do feel that it takes a lot of time, 
but that time is needed to design OSPE initially. Once 
you have done it, you just need to revise and conduct it.
We have started OSPE (not spotting) in pharmacology 
from 2006 and we are still refining it. It took a lot of time
 initially, when we did it for 1sttime.
Another fine example of OSCE designing and conduct is
 the Paediatrics dept at CMC who are successfully doing 
it for more than 10 years now.
We have already got a lot of material on OSPE/OSCE, 
let us shift to higher gear.
I invite your comments on:
1. Attributes of OSPE/OSCE.
2. Your actual experience of initial stages of OSPE/OSCE 
in your dept(feasibility).
3. Are people still confusing spotting with OSPE 
in basic/paraclinical departments?

Bharti: Agreed the teacher -taught interaction improves but what about colleges
where the intake is 150-200 and staff strength is less than 50% or just
visiting faculty?

The spotting is still confused with OSPE but if properly framed it is the
approach. Naam mein kya rakha hee

Dr Tejinder Singh: Incidentally this is the plus point. Many of you might remember the
entrance test few years ago when we had OSCE for 250 people. This
would have never been possible with conventional exams. You are right
that assessment does not happen in vacuum - staff and facilities have
to be there.  All said OSCE is not spotting!

Praveen: Attributes:

1)      Examination attributes, which include the quality of instructions and organisation, the quality of performance, authenticity and transparency of the process, and usefulness of the OSCE as a better assessment instrument compared to other formats.

2)      In our department of Anatomy, right now we have structured spotting going on for almost all the subcomponents of anatomy, but we will definitely convert them to OSPE, definitely more of question station & less of observer stations.

3)      Spotting & OSPE are two different concepts, though spotting may be a form of objective assessment

Suman Singh: I think problem with OSPE/OSEC is in the process of initiation.
We all know that it requires lots of planning and very clearly laid down objectives for each station that we wish to create but once we begin all things will become manageable.
 We already have spotting exercise at many places.

May be we can try and create one station at a time and see how the students and faculty feel.
As per the availability of resources we can decide the number of observed and question stations.
 I don’t think there are any fixed norms to have as many as 15- 20 stations.
Once we start implementing, we will adapt the system as per our local needs and over a period of time become confident.

Barathi: The more stations and more time spent will be reliable in assessing

Dr Tejinder Singh: At least one outcome of this month should be the clarity that spotting in
NOT OSPE. I suggest that each one of us designs a station in own subject
area and get feedback from rest of the group.





Discussion Summary


Origin and evolution of OSCE

What is OSCE OSPE..

Important terminologies OSCE and OSPE

Process - OSCE and OSPE


Advantages OSCE and OSPE

Limitation OSCE and OSPE

The final words