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A study to assess students’ performance in theory and practical components of final summative pharmacology examination in Non-CBME and CBME curriculum

Soumik Biswas, Ananya Mandal, Suman Chattopadhyay, Arijit Ghosh.


Background: Competency-based medical education (CBME) has transformed the MBBS curriculum and aims to emphasize the five roles of an Indian medical graduates: clinician, leader, communicator, life-long learner, and professional. Accordingly, various changes have been made in the curriculum and assessment of Phase II students in pharmacology since 2019. The scores in the theory component have changed from 110 to 200, and those in the practical component have changed from 40 to 100.

Aims and Objectives: To assess performance of students in the theory and practical components of the final summative pharmacology examination under the CBME curriculum (Batch 2019–20) with the earlier non-CBME curriculum (Batch 2018–19).

Materials and Methods: A record-based observational study was conducted at a medical college in Kolkata. The percentage of marks obtained by students in theory and practical components in the CBME batch and in the non-CBME batch (inter-batch comparison) were compared by using an unpaired Student’s t-test. Further scores in theory and practical components were also compared for each batch (intra-batch comparison).

Results: Average marks obtained by the students of the non-CBME batch (n = 250) and CBME batch (n = 242) in the theory exam were 64.36% ± 6.14 and 63.69% ± 6.77, and in the practical exam they were 71.51% ± 8.58 and 71.04% ± 6.54, respectively. There is no statistically significant difference in the theory and practical components between non-CBME and CBME batches. The performance in the practical examination compared to the theory examination was significantly better in both the non-CBME and CBME batches (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Major changes and modifications have been made in the curriculum due to the incorporation of CBME. Over the years, more data can be generated on students’ ability to adapt to the CBME curriculum and improve their learning.

Key words: Competency-based Medical Education; Students’ Performance; Assessment

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