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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11: 85.
Published online 2011 May 16. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-11-85
PMCID: PMC3118176

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), psychiatry and the Clinical assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) Same Evidence, Different Judgement



The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), originally developed in the 1970's, has been hailed as the "gold standard" of clinical assessments for medical students and is used within medical schools throughout the world. The Clinical assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) is an OSCE used as a clinical examination gateway, granting access to becoming a senior Psychiatrist in the UK.


Van der Vleuten's utility model is used to examine the CASC from the viewpoint of a senior psychiatrist. Reliability may be equivalent to more traditional examinations. Whilst the CASC is likely to have content validity, other forms of validity are untested and authenticity is poor. Educational impact has the potential to change facets of psychiatric professionalism and influence future patient care. There are doubts about acceptability from candidates and more senior psychiatrists.


Whilst OSCEs may be the best choice for medical student examinations, their use in post graduate psychiatric examination in the UK is subject to challenge on the grounds of validity, authenticity and educational impact.

Articles from BMC Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central