AV OSCE - A message from the RANZCP President and Board
18 Aug 2023
On Saturday 20 November 2021, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) was unable to deliver the Audio Visual (AV) Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) exam.
We unequivocally acknowledge the impact this had on candidates and their loved ones after extensive preparation and anticipation.
We apologise, wholeheartedly and unreservedly.
The disruption and cancellation of an important examination was distressing for all involved, particularly within the context of COVID-19 and widespread community uncertainty.
The heart of the mental health care system is the exceptional workforce providing care to the community and at the centre are our trainees and Fellows.
The College is deeply committed to providing high-quality, best-practice training and professional development across what we hope is a long and rewarding career in psychiatry.
To this end, an external, independent review was commissioned into the reasons and circumstances that led to the cancellation of the AVOSCE on Saturday 20 November 2021, including:
- The role and appointment of the external IT service provider
- The events in the lead up to and on the day of the exam
- Relevant decision making and governance processes
- Contingencies and risk management processes
The Review was conducted by KPMG and overseen by a Steering Group, Chaired by Professor Malcolm Hopwood. The Steering Members were a representative from the Trainee Representative Committee at the time of the exam failure, a representative of the Branch Chairs, a SIMG member, and an independent community member with expertise in IT investigations.
The Review process involved the use of forensic IT specialists, procurement specialists, conducting of interviews with those involved in the operational preparation and delivery of the exam, and review of over 800 documents relating to governance, decision making, and processes.
We have received the findings of the review and the associated recommendations.
The review found a number of factors contributed to the events that unfolded;
- The incorrect configuration of the Zoom meeting room links by the third-party provider being the cause of the failure on the day of the exam
- The independent report identified the impact of COVID-19, and State and International border restrictions and lockdowns across 2020-21, as one of the underlying causes of the failure of the AV OSCE, which impacted the ability of the College to conduct its standard in-person OSCE examinations.
- The pressure on the College to progress the backlog of candidates through the OSCE prior to the end of 2021
- The limited period available to design, develop and deliver an alternative online digital assessment solution at scale
- The decision to proceed with the AV OSCE without a full-scale successful pilot
- Insufficient time being available to load test the AV OSCE solution and rectify issues prior to Exam Day
The review made nine recommendations for the College relating:
- Procurement and engagement with third party suppliers and services
- Governance and risk management
- Improvements to large scale IT project implementation
- Communication mechanisms and processes
The Board has accepted the recommendations in full.
We would like to thank the AV OSCE Review Steering Group for overseeing this important Review.
We are thankful for the active involvement and support of many of our Fellows and members, and dedicated College staff who helped find practical and timely solutions to progress impacted candidates through the development of the Alternative Assessment Pathway. Candidates were able to progress to Fellowship in a timely way and the learnings have been incorporated into our current pathway and into development of our future assessment pathways.
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