Journal Mobile

GP Currie, S Sinha, F Thomson, J Cleland, AR Denison
Journal Issue: 
Volume 47: Issue 2: 2017




Background Tablet computers have emerged as a tool to capture, process and store data in examinations, yet evidence relating to their acceptability and usefulness in assessment is limited.

Methods We performed an observational study to explore opinions and attitudes relating to tablet computer use in recording performance in a final year objective structured clinical examination at a single UK medical school. Examiners completed a short questionnaire encompassing background, forced-choice and open questions. Forced choice questions were analysed using descriptive statistics and open questions by framework analysis.

Results Ninety-two (97% response rate) examiners completed the questionnaire of whom 85% had previous use of tablet computers. Ninety per cent felt checklist mark allocation was ‘very/quite easy’, while approximately half considered recording ‘free-type’ comments was ‘easy/very easy’. Greater overall efficiency of marking and resource savings were considered the main advantages of tablet computers, while concerns relating to technological failure and ability to record free type comments were raised.

Discussion In a context where examiners were familiar with tablet computers, they were preferred to paper checklists, although concerns were raised. This study adds to the limited literature underpinning the use of electronic devices as acceptable tools in objective structured clinical examinations.

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