The Structured Oral Examination: A Method to Improve Formative Assessment of Fellows in Pediatric Endocrinology

Ranjit V. Shenoy, Dorothee Newbern, David W. Cooke, Dennis J. Chia, Leonidas Panagiotakopoulos, Sara Divall, Lournaris Torres-Santiago, Sitaram Vangala, Nidhi Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Objective: A structured oral exam (SOE) can be utilized as a formative assessment to provide high-quality formative feedback to trainees, but has not been adequately studied in graduate medical education. We obtained fellow and faculty perspectives on: 1) educational effectiveness, 2) feasibility/acceptability, and 3) time/cost of a SOE for formative feedback. Methods: Four pediatric endocrinology cases were developed and peer-reviewed to generate a SOE. The exam was administered by faculty to pediatric endocrinology fellows individually, with feedback after each case. Fellow/faculty perspectives of the SOE were obtained through a questionnaire. Qualitative thematic analysis was utilized to analyze written comments generated by faculty and fellows. Results: Seven of 10 pediatric endocrinology fellowship programs and all 18 fellows within those programs agreed to participate. Thematic analysis of fellow and faculty comments resulted in 5 perceived advantages of the SOE: 1) improved identification of clinically relevant knowledge deficits, 2) improved assessment of clinical reasoning, 3) immediate feedback/teaching, 4) assurance of adequate teaching/assessment of uncommon cases, and 5) more clinically relevant assessment. Mean time to administer one case was 15.8 minutes (2.0) and was mentioned as a potential barrier to implementation. Almost all fellows (17/18, 94%) and faculty (6/7, 86%) would recommend or would most likely recommend implementation of the SOE into their curriculum. Conclusions: The SOE utilized for formative feedback was perceived by fellows and faculty to have several educational advantages over current assessments and high acceptability. Objective educational advantages should be assessed on future studies of the SOE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1096
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • fellowship assessments
  • fellowship evaluations
  • graduate medical education assessments
  • medical education assessment
  • medical education evaluation
  • medical trainee assessment
  • medical trainee evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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