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GMS J Med Educ. 2017 May 15;34(2):Doc25. doi: 10.3205/zma001102. eCollection 2017.

Visions and reality: the idea of competence-oriented assessment for German medical students is not yet realised in licensing examinations.

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University Hospital of Ulm, Medical School, Institute for Clinical- and Experimental Trauma-Immunology, Ulm, Germany.
University of Ulm, Medical Faculty, Dean's Office, Ulm, Germany.
University of Ulm, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Ulm, Germany.
University Hospital of Ulm, Department of Cardiac Anaesthesiology, Ulm, Germany.


in English, German

Objective: Competence orientation, often based on the CanMEDS model, has become an important goal for modern curricula in medical education. The National Competence Based Catalogue of Learning Objectives for Undergraduate Medical Education (NKLM) has been adopted in Germany. However, it is currently unknown whether the vision of competence orientation has also reached the licensing examination procedures. Methods: Therefore, a prospective, descriptive, single-centre, exemplary study design was applied to evaluate 4051 questions/tasks (from 28 examiners at 7 two-day licensing oral-practical exams) for undergraduate medical students at the University of Ulm. The oral and practical questions/tasks as well as the real bedside assessment were assigned to specific competence roles (NKLM section I), categories (NKLM section II) and taxonomy levels of learning domains. Results: Numerous questions/tasks were set per candidate (day 1/2: 70±24/86±19 questions) in the licensing oral-practical exam. Competence roles beyond the "medical expert" were scarcely considered. Furthermore, practical and communication skills at the bedside were hardly addressed (less than 3/15 min). Strikingly, there was a significant predominance of questions with a low-level taxonomy. Conclusions: The data indicate a misalignment of competence-oriented frameworks and the "real world" licensing practical-oral medical exam, which needs improvement in both evaluation and education processes.


NKLM; alignment; high-stakes exam; medical competence; roles

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