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GMS J Med Educ. 2017 Nov 15;34(5):Doc55. doi: 10.3205/zma001132. eCollection 2017.

Three years of experience with a workshop for medical specialty examiners in South Baden: A project report and initial evaluation results.

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Universität Freiburg, Lehrbereich Allgemeinmedizin, Freiburg, Germany.
Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Universität Freiburg, Abt. für Med. Psychologie, Freiburg, Germany.


in English, German

Introduction: An oral exam (30-60 minutes) is administered at the end of every post-graduate medical specialty program or is required to attain additional specialized qualifications. In both undergraduate and post-graduate medical education oral exams are not considered to be very objective or reliable. To improve the quality of exams in medical specialties, the Regional Medical Association for South Baden (Bezirksärztekammer Südbaden) decided in 2013 to offer a training program for head examiners and others responsible for administering exams in medical specialties. Project Description: Following a survey of examiners and examinees conducted from January through June, 2013, on the difficulty level of examination questions, satisfaction with the test, and the need for training in administering exams, the first workshop of its kind was designed. Since 2013, six workshops with a total of 93 participants have been held and evaluated. Results: The evaluations (response rate: 86%) showed a high level of acceptance for the concept behind the training. A large number of participants felt the need to define minimum standards for exams, to standardize the required level of difficulty and the assessment criteria in each subject, and to give examiners the appropriate tools needed to improve the validity and reliability of the exams. Conclusion: Offering a training program for those responsible for administering medical specialty exams appears to be both meaningful and necessary in order to meet the existing need for increased validity and reliability. In light of the initial experiences with this workshop and the differing percentages of failed exam attempts nationwide, the implementation of examiner training is to be recommended in other regions in Germany. In other European countries examiners conducting medical specialty exams undergo appropriate training before administering their first exam.


Medical specialty exam; examiner workshop; oral assessments; post-graduate training

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