Assessment Strategy for 2021 Anaesthetics Curriculum

Published: 12/01/2023

Standard setting: Primary and Final FRCA SOE

The pass mark for the Primary FRCA SOE is currently a set pass mark of 77%. This pass mark was agreed by the examinations committee following the analysis of historical data, and has consistently provided a pass rate of 50 – 55%. The Primary examiner board are awaiting the findings of the forthcoming FRCA examination review before replacing the current fixed pass mark.

The pass mark for the Final SOE is established using borderline regression (BLR). BLR is an effective standard setting method when used in high-stakes, structured oral examinations. The examiner is face-to-face with the candidate and can make an honest, informed decision on the level of achievement that should be awarded. Six examiners assess each candidate across the Final SOE, giving marks for performance on each question and awarding a global score for a candidate’s overall performance. This standard setting method uses real examination data on which to determine a pass and can also identify problems with an SOE question.

All standard setting methods used across the FRCA programme of examinations are widely used by colleges and faculties to set a fair pass mark. The internal reliability of the examination, even though they suffer from small cohorts, consistently achieves a test-retest reliability figure within the good/acceptable range. All examiners undertake regular training and carry out standard setting benchmarking exercises to ensure. A number of examiners take part in the assessment of a candidate in the clinical examinations, which contributes positively towards the reliability of the FRCA examinations (Van der Vleuten, C.P.M. and Swanson, D.B. (1990). Assessment of clinical skills with standardized patients: state of the art. Teach Learn Med, 2(2):58-76).