Assessment Strategy for 2021 Anaesthetics Curriculum

Published: 12/01/2023

Standard setting: Fairness

The fairness of an examination refers to its freedom from any kind of bias. To this end and in the exercising of its duties under the Equality Act 2010, the RCoA give due regard to:

  • eliminating discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other unacceptable conduct
  • advancing equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • fostering good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The RCoA aims to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to demonstrate their ability in the examinations and that no candidate is treated less favourably than another on grounds of race, disability, sex, transgender, sexual orientation, age, religion, or pregnancy and maternity.

To ensure FRCA examinations do not disadvantage any candidate, or group of candidates, on any basis other than the candidate’s lack of the knowledge and skills, all FRCA question examiners take particular care in the wording of questions to avoid ambiguity or offence across cultures. Additionally, examiners seek advice from specific experts/organisations/ associations or the experience of individuals in the workplace on topics which may potentially affect certain ethnicities or cultures.

The RCoA works hard to ensure the boards of examiners are well balanced in their diversity, which goes some way to ensuring our examinations are as fair as they can be. The RCoA encourages feedback from candidates on the examination process and its content, and this provides access to a viewpoint on some protected characteristics not reflected in our examiner groups. Trainers, lay members and external experts visit the examinations and their feedback helps increase our understanding and appreciation of the examinations from stakeholders who share protected characteristics. However, the protected characteristics and cultures listed in the 2011 census is as it is intended to be, very diverse and it would be impossible to engage with everyone on every decision.

Reasonable adjustments

The RCoA considers reasonable adjustments for examination candidates with disability, as set out in the examination regulations. Special arrangements for pregnancy and temporary medical conditions are also provided where necessary. Full details are available at appendix 3 of the FRCA examinations regulations. 

Equality analysis

Equality analysis is an integral part of examination policy, content and practice. The RCoA carries out objective, evidence-based equality analysis when making decisions relating to examination changes, policies, question writing and practices. This ensures that full consideration is given to the effect such decisions may have on the fairness of the examination, and aims to prevent discrimination, promote diversity and inclusivity for all groups of people.