January 25, 2020
How the CASPer® Assessment for Medical School is Scored
Understanding how CASPer® is assessment and how CASPer® is scored may help you create your CASPer® preparation plan.
Usually, CASPer® assessors undergo an orientation that is intended to guide them on the logistical aspects of marking the exams such as logging in securely, having the right software to support the marking process and so on. They are also trained on the criteria they need to apply when assessing each response from the student. Training on these basic criteria is intended to minimize subjectivity during marking.
CASPer® assessors are typically medical students, medical residents or faculty with an interested in admissions review. At times, non-medical faculty are involved in the scoring process to add another element of objectively and diversity of assessment.
During scoring, the personal identifiers of the student are not available to the assessor. This is to eliminate bias. Also, each applicant’s CASPer® exam goes through 12 distinct assessors, in order to increase the inter-observer reliability of the test. Remember it is much easier for one assessor to fail you as compared to 12 who have twelve distinct observations and opinions. This is important because the assessors are not given an answer key and rely on their training and judgement to score your CASPer® exam.
Each of your responses will be judged based on the criteria that the assessors have been trained on. It is important to note that application of the criteria will vary depending on the scenario you are responding to. For instance, you might come across a question such as this:
You are a resident at an outpatient clinic when you come across a patient diagnosed with ovarian cancer that requires surgical intervention. While discussing details of the surgery, you explain that open and laparscopic oophorectomy are both possible options in her case.
Question 1: How would you go about ensuring that the consent provided by this patient is informed?
In the course of your discussions, the patient tells you that they would like to give chemotherapy a chance before/instead of undergoing surgery.
Question 2: How would you respond to this decision?
Without going into the medical terms which are usually meant to stress you a bit, the question here is clearly one of informed consent and patient autonomy and other ethical areas. If you are able to demonstrate that you have recognized the several dimensions that come into play in this scenario, you will get a better grade from your assessor.
The grading of CASPer® responses use a Likert-style scale that is numerical that runs from 1 to 9 with 1 being unsatisfactory and 9 being superb.
If in a particular scenario you are unable to answer all questions, you will still be graded strongly as long as the answer you provided to the question you are able to answer is well thought out and mature.
CASPer® assessors are required or expected to flag a response if it is considered a ‘dangerous, unethical, unprofessional, and potentially harmful approach to the scenario at hand’.
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