The unfair nature of the CASC Examination
Dear Prof Dinesh Bhugra(RCPsych President),
I would like to draw your attention to the current CASC examination format,in which the trainee has to carry out 16 clinical scenarios with each station having one actor and one examiner.
A source of concern for me is the subjectivity of the whole process.The former Part 2 examination had at least 2 examiners marking the candidate independently.With the current CASC format,we have only one examiner thereby creating room for subjective scoring.Also,if the trainee is not satisfied with the outcome of the examination and appeals against it,the outcome will ALWAYS inevitably end up against the petitoner as there is no video recording to refer back to.
Another area of concern for me is that the CASC passing rate has remained consistently around 30 percent(apart from the first CASC examination in 2008 which had over 60 percent of candidates passing).After that,the pass rate has remained between 32 and 37 percent.Does this imply that current trainees are now worse than the ones in 2008?Or,does it also imply that training standards have fallen?If the candidates are given final scores in the booth as they complete the station how is it possible that the pass rate has not changed much.One would expect big variations between results,given that examiners,clinical scenarios and candidates change with every exam.
I would appreciate it if you could urgently look at employing video recording in each CASC booth.This will greatly increase objectivity in scoring and aid a more transparent appeals process.
I also suggest we have a minimum of two examiners in each booth,numerically scoring candidates.The average should then be the score of candidates in each booth.This should then be summed up and converted to percentage.The RCPsych can then set a pass mark(in percentage)afterwards.This method is currently in use by other bodies organising clinical examinations.
Finally,the CASC pass rate has shown a huge disparity between locally trained graduates and foreign graduates.I would be grateful if you could look into any failing in the training system that could have led to this.
I believe the high standard of fairness the United Kingdom is known for will be reflected in your judgement with regard to my petition