Assessing clinical competencies using the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in psychology training

Keong Yap, Jade Sheen, Maja Nedeljkovic, Lisa Milne, Katherine Lawrence, Margaret Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Accurate and reliable assessment of clinical competencies in clinical psychology training requires the use of a range of assessment methods. In addition to traditional written assignments, exams, and clinical supervisor ratings, there is a growing recognition that objective and structured performance-based exams are also required. The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a well-established assessment method that involves a series of assessment stations in which students perform structured clinical tasks, mostly with simulated patients (SPs), while being independently rated by examiners. Several clinical psychology programmes in Australia have started conducting OSCE but descriptions of clinical psychology OSCE are lacking. Method: In this paper, we describe the OSCE in four universities. Results: Challenges, limitations, and practical issues of this form of assessment, in addition to similarities and differences between OSCE are explored. To promote best practice in the assessment of clinical competencies, we offer seven tips to clinical psychology trainers on setting up an OSCE for their programme. Conclusion: The OSCE has the potential to improve the reliability, validity and authenticity of competency assessments in clinical psychology programmes. We hope these OSCE descriptions and tips will encourage programmes to introduce the OSCE and spur further research into this form of assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Authentic assessment
  • clinical psychology training
  • competency assessment
  • objective structured clinical examinations
  • OSCE
  • standardised patients

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