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Online exam fail: Trainees to sit paper-based test

Online exam fail: Trainees to sit paper-based test

Pearson Vue says computer shutdown last week related to human error in the quality assurance phase of the exam setup

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is still waiting on a report from its online exam provider, Pearson Vue, detailing what caused the cancellation of a computer-based exam last week.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, RACP said medical trainees will sit a paper-based exam this Friday. RACP expected to receive the report from Pearson Vue last Wednesday. Pearson Vue’s preliminary view was that the cause of the computer shutdown related to human error in the quality assurance phase of the exam setup, the RACP said.

When asked if the RACP would move to a new online exam provider following the crash, a spokesperson told CIO Australia that this would be considered as part of an independent inquiry.

Trainees were sitting the Basic Training Written Divisional Exam online last Monday as part of the medical training on the road to becoming a physician or paediatrician. But the system crashed, leaving a significant number of candidates locked out of the test and unable to complete the second part of their exam after a scheduled break.

RACP’s board has requested an inquiry be conducted in relation to the shutdown, including the responses of the college and Pearson Vue.

The board met on Monday night to consider measures to help support the 1,200 trainees across Australia and New Zealand who are resitting the paper-based exam, which will be administered by Language & Testing Consultants.

“We have been speaking directly with trainees, the director of Physician Education and health administrators to support trainees as they prepare for the new exam,” said RACP president, Dr Catherine Yelland.

“We have also been in close discussion with our online exam provider Pearson Vue to understand why the computer system shut down and to negotiate a full exam fee refund for trainees,” Yelland said.

“Our focus now is on getting trainees through the paper-based exam this Friday.”

Questions in the paper-based exam are of the same standard as the questions that were used for the computer-based exam and have been validated by the Examinations Committee, the RACP said.

Pearson Vue agreed to refund the exam fee and trainees will be refunded the full fees paid for this year’s exam.

An alternative resit date on March 23 has been organised for trainees who are unavailable this Friday. If a trainee does not pass the resit or alternative team, it will not be counted as one of three attempts at the examination that trainees are allowed, RACP said.

CIO Australia is seeking further comment from Pearson Vue.

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Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter: @ByronConnolly


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Tags Pearson Vueonline examsBasic Training Written Divisional ExamRACPRoyal Australasian College of Physicians

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