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Enhancing Student Assessment Performance:  Development of a novel tool to enhance OSCE Assessment Literacy for Healthcare Students and Staff

   Faculty of Life Sciences

About the Project

Assessment literacy is having an understanding of the process of making academic judgements on student work, including being able to identify its strengths and weaknesses. It is important for both academic staff – to ensure accuracy and consistency of assessment marking – and students –for their academic success. 

There is a range of UK and international literature on assessment literacy, although much of this relates to written coursework, with fewer publications relating to examinations and very few relating to practical assessments including Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessments. This PhD project seeks to address this important gap in the pedagogical literature and aims to investigate assessment literacy of healthcare students and staff, focussing on OSCE assessments. 


A literature review on assessment literacy will be undertaken by the successful candidate, including OSCE-related assessment literacy.  This literature review will be used as a basis for informing development of an appropriate tool for determining OSCE assessment literacy in students and academic staff in a higher education setting. Baseline assessment literacy of students and staff on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare-related programmes will be determined. Quantitative analysis will be undertaken to elicit influencing factors, including experience and demographic/EDI characteristics; this analysis will enable inclusivity to be designed in to the developed intervention. Qualitative insight will also be gathered to explore staff and student perspectives about assessment literacy. Based on these findings, and the published literature, an innovative intervention will be developed to improve OSCE assessment literacy in students and staff and its effectiveness and acceptability will be determined.

Intended outcomes

This project will generate knowledge, tools and intervention(s), which will be shared more widely across the Higher Education sector and professional accrediting bodies with the aim of improving assessment literacy, academic staff skills and student performance if successful. There is potential to improve student achievement – both on the programmes directly involved in the project and also more widely across all programmes that involve some OSCE-style assessment. Findings from the project will be disseminated via educational conference(s) and published in peer-reviewed medical/healthcare education journal(s), thus having the potential to influence other higher education institutions and other providers of healthcare education both nationally and internationally.

This PhD studentship based in the School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences and the successful candidate will be supported by a variety of Faculty research groups including EIRD (Education, Innovation, Research and Development group), Health Society People and Place, and Faculty PedR (Pedagogical research group). The PhD candidate will be situated mostly at the University campus with blended and flexible working options available.


This is a self-funded project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have access to suitable third-party funding, such as the Doctoral Loan from Student Finance. In addition to the university's standard tuition fees, bench fees of £3,000 per year also apply to this project.

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