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Evaluation of the impact of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies masterclass on reducing the attainment gap
Background Across the MRCPsych assessment there is an 11% points and 41% points difference in pass rates for UK white trainees and UK ethnic minority or IMG ethnic minority trainees respectively. Eight two-day masterclasses were delivered between July 2021 and Nov 2022 to provide targeted support for trainee groups considered statistically as being at higher risk of failing to pass the clinical examination and to progress in training; trainees from deaneries with average pass rates below the national average, trainees with a previous fail, from a UK ethnic minority background, or who completed their undergraduate training overseas. Findings Tracking of participant outcomes will continue to the end of 2023. However, early findings indicate higher pass rates and a narrowed attainment gap for masterclass participants: • Pass rates in the September 2021 and January 2022 CASC sittings were 11.3% points and 12.9% points higher for UK and overseas-qualified ethnic minority trainees respectively for those who attended the masterclasses. These findings add to the existing evidence (Hawkridge and Molyneux 2019) that early, targeted support improves outcomes for groups at greater risk of examination fails. A final evaluation of the examination and Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) outcomes of masterclass participants will be published in 2024 when each cohort will have been able to attempt at least two CASC sittings. Interviews with Core Psychiatry trainees show that the masterclass improved their understanding of the examination and its requirements. A phased process of learning developed over the two days: 5 1. raising awareness of key factors including: examiner marking domains, time management and answer structure related to the examination; 2. developing skills related to examination preparation and performance; 3. applying skills that impact on examination preparation and performance. The interview feedback suggests there is a knowledge gap and variation in access to support which is being addressed by the masterclass. Most learning seemed to focus on quite generalisable examination skills rather than a specific skill related to the CASC examination itself. Trainees were not always fully aware of examination preparation resources already provided online by, for example, the RCPsych. Trainees particularly valued that the masterclasses were facilitated using current MRCPsych examiners to give detailed, more focused and relevant feedback in what was perceived to be a safe and trusted learning environment. This seemed to alleviate trainee anxieties and add to their own self-belief.
Health Education England North West
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