Concerns that Linger: Medical School Perspectives on the UKMLA and Shared Assessment

Margaret MacDougall


The General Medical Council have closed their formal consultation process soliciting recommendations on how to develop a UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). The output of this consultation goes a considerable way to identifying concerns about implementation of such an assessment. However, there is scope for more attention to detail in specifying concerns held by individual UK medical schools, even where these schools have indicated acceptance or approval of the UKMLA. There is therefore a need for increased transparency in identifying stakeholder viewpoints to ensure these lingering concerns can be addressed during the current development phase. The current study contributes to addressing this need through providing an overview of UK medical school views on introducing a UKMLA and relatedly, on shared assessment as a source of uniformity of competency across medical schools. Using a secure online survey system, response data were collected during 13-30 January, 2014 from recommended assessment specialists, representing their respective medical schools. Likert scale and free text response data were collected. Based on Likert sale data, more medical schools appeared accepting of these ideas than either those who expressed disapproval or those who expressed uncertainty.  Nevertheless, concerns still lingered. Areas of concern included stifling of curriculum innovation, supporting students who fail the UKMLA and quality and administration of assessment. Eleven recommendations have emerged for addressing respondent concerns. In presenting these recommendations arising specifically from participant feedback, I invite responses from all categories of stakeholder in order to promote open discussion beyond the formal consultation period. 

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Journal of Education and Development  ISSN 2529-7996 (Print)  ISSN 2591-7250 (Online)

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