Developing An Objective Assessment Of Medical Students Ultrasonography Skills Early In The Curriculum

Ayad Al-Moslih(1), Aftab Azad(2), Khalid Bashir(2), Alison Carr.(1)

1. College of Medicine, Qatar University (CMED); 2. Emergency Department, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar


A few medical schools in the Middle East have started teaching ultrasonography (US).

Medical schools in Europe and America have been introducing ultrasonography earlier in the curriculum over the past decade.

Designing assessment for such skills is a challenge when the taught competences are tailored to serve a new paradigm.


First-year medical students at Qatar University learned ultrasonography as an adjunct to physical examination in our system-based course. They had a formative assessment during the course and summative at the end of semesters.

Assessments were objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE). Evaluation of the assessments is reported here.


Students, examiners, and external evaluators provided feedback.

101 of 119 students responded. 91% rated the assessed competence as fair.

All examiners found students’ performance to be robust. 3/4 examiners found the competence appropriate for the students’ level.

Evaluators highlighted strengths of the assessment encounter and provided recommendations related to training of examiners.


The OSCE checklist was based on competences aligned with the modular objectives of the curriculum. Communication, patient safety, technical skills, and interpretation were assessed.

Students’ feedback highlights and supports the notion of programmatic assessment and the crucial role of formative encounters as strongly recommended in assessment literature.


Development of OSCE to assess US skills requires a test blueprint.

Starting with a set of target competencies is crucial to the measurement of students’ performance.

The value of programmatic assessment lies in the collective benefit of the different educational encounters that enhance feedback to the learners.


Assessment of ultrasonography skills early in the curriculum requires careful planning; to consider integration of formative occasions that follow educational encounters and precede summative assessments.

Assessed constructs should align with the educational objectives and fit into the overall outcome competencies. ​

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