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      Students and examiners perception on virtual medical graduation exam during the COVID-19 quarantine period: A cross-sectional study


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          With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown approach that was adopted all over the world, conducting assessments while maintaining integrity became a big challenge. This article aims at sharing the experience of conducting an online assessment with the academic community and to assess its effectiveness from both examiners’ and students’ perspectives.


          An online assessment was carried out for the final year medical students of Hawler Medical University/Iraq during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic, June 2020. Then, an online questionnaire was sent to a sample of 61 examiners and 108 students who have been involved in evaluating the mentioned assessment process. Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare the mean ranks of the overall satisfaction scores between categories of the students and examiners. Categorical data were summarized and presented as frequencies and percentages.


          The response rates among examiners and students were 69.4% and 88.5% respectively. The majority of the examiners were generally satisfied with the online examination process compared to only around a third of the students. However, both examiners and students agreed that online examination was not suitable for assessing the physical examination skills.


          The online assessment can be considered a good alternative and acceptable method for medical students’ assessment in unpredicted emergencies, yet it was not applicable in testing physical examination skills.

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          The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on final year medical students in the United Kingdom: a national survey

          Background The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic has resulted in unprecedented public health measures. This has impacted the UK education sector with many universities halting campus-based teaching and examinations. The aim of this study is to identify the impact of COVID-19 on final year medical students’ examinations and placements in the United Kingdom (UK) and how it might impact their confidence and preparedness going into their first year of foundation training. Methods A 10-item online survey was distributed to final year medical students across 33 UK medical schools. The survey was designed by combining dichotomous, multiple choice and likert response scale questions. Participants were asked about the effect that the COVID-19 global pandemic had on final year medical written exams, electives, assistantships and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). The survey also explored the student’s confidence and preparedness going into their first year of training under these new unprecedented circumstances. Results Four hundred forty students from 32 UK medical schools responded. 38.4% (n = 169) of respondents had their final OSCEs cancelled while 43.0% (n = 189) had already completed their final OSCEs before restrictions. 43.0% (n = 189) of assistantship placements were postponed while 77.3% (n = 340) had electives cancelled. The impact of COVID-19 on OSCEs, written examinations and student assistantships significantly affected students’ preparedness (respectively p = 0.025, 0.008, 0.0005). In contrast, when measuring confidence, only changes to student assistantships had a significant effect (p = 0.0005). The majority of students feel that measures taken during this pandemic to amend their curricula was necessary. Respondents also agree that assisting in hospitals during the outbreak would be a valuable learning opportunity. Conclusions The impact on medical student education has been significant, particularly affecting the transition from student to doctor. This study showed the disruptions to student assistantships had the biggest effect on students’ confidence and preparedness. For those willing to assist in hospitals to join the front-line workforce, it is crucial to maintain their wellbeing with safeguards such as proper inductions, support and supervision.
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            Medical students and COVID-19: the need for pandemic preparedness

            The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted unprecedented global disruption. For medical schools, this has manifested as examination and curricular restructuring as well as significant changes to clinical attachments. With the available evidence suggesting that medical students’ mental health status is already poorer than that of the general population, with academic stress being a chief predictor, such changes are likely to have a significant effect on these students. In addition, there is an assumption that these students are an available resource in terms of volunteerism during a crisis. This conjecture should be questioned; however, as those engaging in such work without sufficient preparation are susceptible to moral trauma and adverse health outcomes. This, in conjunction with the likelihood of future pandemics, highlights the need for ‘pandemic preparedness’ to be embedded in the medical curriculum.
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              COVID-19 and schooling: evaluation, assessment and accountability in times of crises—reacting quickly to explore key issues for policy, practice and research with the school barometer

              The crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus has far-reaching effects in the field of education, as schools were closed in March 2020 in many countries around the world. In this article, we present and discuss the School Barometer, a fast survey (in terms of reaction time, time to answer and dissemination time) that was conducted in Germany, Austria and Switzerland during the early weeks of the school lockdown to assess and evaluate the current school situation caused by COVID-19. Later, the School Barometer was extended to an international survey, and some countries conducted the survey in their own languages. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 7116 persons participated in the German language version: 2222 parents, 2152 students, 1949 school staff, 655 school leaders, 58 school authority and 80 members of the school support system. The aim was to gather, analyse and present data in an exploratory way to inform policy, practice and further research. In this article, we present some exemplary first results and possible implications for policy, practice and research. Furthermore, we reflect on the strengths and limitations of the School Barometer and fast surveys as well as the methodological options for data collection and analysis when using a short monitoring survey approach. Specifically, we discuss the methodological challenges associated with survey data of this kind, including challenges related to hypothesis testing, the testing of causal effects and approaches to ensure reliability and validity. By doing this, we reflect on issues of assessment, evaluation and accountability in times of crisis.

                Author and article information

                Role: ConceptualizationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Data curationRole: MethodologyRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: MethodologyRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                19 August 2022
                19 August 2022
                : 17
                : 8
                [1 ] Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
                [2 ] Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
                [3 ] Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
                Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology, INDIA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors declared that they have no competing interests.

                © 2022 Alkhateeb et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 7, Pages: 12
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
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