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Order effects in high stakes undergraduate examinations: an analysis of 5 years of administrative data in one UK medical school
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    Sharing of information in objective structured clinical examinations -- does no evidence of difference mean evidence of no difference?

    Recently, the University of Glasgow medical school had to ask all medical students to retake their Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) because of leaking of exam details online.<1> In contrary, this study here suggested that quarantining students to prevent collusion is unnecessary.<2> When I studied medicine at the University of Birmingham, I was also told that knowing the OSCE questions prior to the exam make no difference in the scores. I always find these data counter-intuitive, as I cannot explain why knowing the exam questions beforehand would not give candidates an advantage. I am aware that other students are similarly concerned about the fairness of OSCEs when information is colluded, but are told that the data suggest otherwise.<3> I would like to comment on the validity of these data here.

    First of all, all medical students and graduates must have heard of the phrase ‘no evidence of difference does not mean evidence of no difference’ during their epidemiology and research modules. As an analogy, if I don’t hate you, it doesn’t mean I love you. When a study fails to detect statistical significance among groups, it could be due to a Type II error, meaning failure to detect a difference when there is indeed a difference. Although the authors of the current study stated that other studies also failed to show inter-day difference in students’ OSCE performance, researchers cannot declare no difference between groups -- they must...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.