Assessing the Clinical Competence of Psychology Students Through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs): Student and Staff Views

Jade Sheen, Jane McGillivray, Clint Gurtman, Leanne Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are a well-known, reliable, and valid assessment method used across the healthcare sector. In the present study, we applied OSCEs in three units within professional postgraduate psychology courses, with the broad aims of identifying staff and student perceptions of the assessment. At the conclusion of each OSCE, staff and students completed a feedback questionnaire that contained both scaled and open-ended questions. Results suggest that clinical psychology OSCEs can be stressful for students, but are also well regarded. Both staff and students felt that the OSCEs were realistic, valid, and aligned well with professional practice. Students reported differences in the way in which they prepared for the OSCEs compared with a written exam or other form of assessment, while staff noted that models of OSCE development must be flexible, to adequately assess the objectives of individual units. Further, because they can be a costly exercise, OSCEs need to be applied judiciously within the tertiary sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical assessment
  • Clinical psychology
  • Competencies
  • Education
  • Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)

Cite this