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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 12-16

An assessment of the correlation between tests of clinical competence and tests of cognitive knowledge amongst Nigerian resident doctors in surgery

1 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
3 Department of Radiation Biology, Radiotherapy and Radiography, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Kehinde H Tijani
Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_45_21

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Background: Assessment of clinical competence involves the assessment of cognition and assessment of clinical performance (behaviour in practice). The limitations of the traditional long case examination (LCE) in the assessment of clinical performance led to its replacement with the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) by many institutions. Aims: To determine and compare the abilities of the OSCE and LCE to predict candidates’ performance in the tests of cognitive knowledge in the fellowship examination of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in the Faculty of Surgery. Materials and Methods: The results of the OSCE, LCE, written papers, picture tests (PTs), vivas, and the total clinical score (TCS) of surgical residents who took part in the fellowship examination over six consecutive examination periods were compared by using the Pearson’s correlation coefficient. A P-value less than .01 was considered as significant. Results: The OSCE had a weak but statistically significant positive correlation (.175) with the LCE. Both the OSCE and LCE had similar correlations with the total written papers (TWP) and PTs. The viva had a higher correlation with the OSCE than the LCE. The TCS when compared with either the OSCE or LCE alone had a higher correlation with most of the tests of cognitive knowledge. Conclusion: Neither the OSCE nor the LCE showed any superiority over the other in terms of the ability to predict performance in the tests of cognition. The TCS appears superior to either the OSCE or the LCE as a predictor of the candidates’ overall knowledge of surgery. Therefore, both the OSCE and the LCE should be retained as part of the examination.

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