‘The envy of colleges the world over’: Smooth sailing for latest RCE

6/07/2021 Written by Paul Hayes

This article is over 6 months old

‘The envy of colleges the world over’: Smooth sailing for latest RCE

Lockdowns, closed borders, social restrictions, mask-wearing mandates, technical failures. It’s been a difficult year for anyone having to sit exams anywhere in Australia.
 
It’s also been an incredibly challenging time for the people who develop and prepare those exams, which is what makes the success of the RACGP’s most recent RCE – Remote Clinical Exam – so impressive.
 
With the first two days held on Saturday and Sunday 3–4 July, and one further date for borderline candidates to come, the RCE was the result of the detailed planning and expertise of RACGP staff members around the country.
 
‘It was truly amazing to watch the whole team working at the exam HQ,’ Rob LoPresti, new RACGP General Manager of Education Services, said. ‘They managed every aspect of the delivery remotely yet were able to jump into every exam hub and support, oversee and troubleshoot at any time.’
 
First introduced in late-2020 as a COVID-safe online replacement for the face-to-face Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), development for the RCE began just over a year ago. In that time the RACGP has delivered ‘an enormous paradigm shift’, moving to online clinical exams and successfully delivering the Fellowship exam three times to 2843 candidates, and twice as a mock exam.
 
‘One of our censors said to me after this weekend’s exam that we’re the envy of colleges the world over. That’s a huge compliment,’ Rob said. ‘Who would have thought the exam team – led by our project manager Karen Connaughton – could have achieved so much in just one year?’
 
That list of achievements is a long one.
 
The team was able to develop a brand-new exam, including questions, format and grading schema, and ensure more than 500 examiners had the assessment literacy necessary to deliver the exam three times in 12 months.
 
This process also required the implementation of a range of new technology. The team integrated and optimised Qualtrics in less than six weeks prior to the first mock exam, and researched and optimised Zoom to deliver and manage the exam in less than two months prior to first mock exam.
 
And all of that new tech of course required training. Of particular note, the 500-plus examiners learnt how to use Zoom functions to examine alongside a new marking platform they accessed on their own device (often a phone). The team only had to chase up an average of fewer than five marks each day.
 
‘It equates to 36,532 marks submitted so far, of which less than 50 across 10 days had to be chased up,’ Karen said. ‘That’s a staggering 0.0013% that had to be followed up.
 
‘It’s a real testament to the commitment our examiners make to support the college and GPs in training.’
 
RACGP CEO Dr Matthew Miles called the RCE ‘a credit to everyone involved’.
 
‘The move to the new format shows the RACGP’s ability to adapt and pivot in difficult circumstances,’ he said. ‘That goes to ever-improving organisational culture.
 
‘Since I started with the RACGP last year, I’ve been repeatedly struck by staff members’ ability – and willingness – to come together to deliver on the college’s strategic vision. The success of this RCE is a perfect example of that.
 
‘It’s no secret the past year has seen some issues with our exams, so to see a whole new exam be developed and so successfully executed in a 12-month period is especially gratifying, not to mention a truly impressive piece of work by all involved.
 
‘I extend my congratulations to the exam team and those supporting its delivery across the RACGP, and to all who sat the exam.
 
‘All of your hard work has not gone unnoticed.’

RACGP welcomes new Head of People, Culture and Learning
No better way to contribute to the future of Australian general practice

Featured article

Chairs report April 2022

Chairs report April 2022

26/04/2022

A tremendous amount of work continues throughout the college to ensure the transition of training back to the RACGP.

More
All news