RACP launches inquiry into IT exam failure

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RACP launches inquiry into IT exam failure

Tasks Ferrier Hodgson with investigation.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has hired financial advisor Ferrier Hodgson to investigate the failure of a critical online exam for medical students.

Late last month education testing software vendor Pearson Vue promised to refund student fees for the botched online test.

The week before, trainee doctors had found themselves locked out of software for the 'basic divisional written exam', leaving them unable to complete the test.

The exam - which has been described as the hardest in a trainee doctor's life - is the gateway for trainee doctors to enter a specialist practice in either adult internal medicine or paediatrics and child health.

It occurs at the end of their first four years of training and costs $1800.

This year was the first time the test had been provided online.

But the RACP was forced to void all the results from the exam and reschedule it - on paper - for earlier this month and at no cost as a result of the high-profile failure.

Pearson Vue has only so far attributed an unfortunate "human error" in the quality assurance process of the setup for the issue.

However more detail is likely to come to light with the full inquiry announced today by the RACP.

Ferrier Hodgson has been asked to investigate "why trainee physicians experienced technical problems, how this could be avoided in the future and recommend how the college can improve its examinations process to move forward", the RACP said.

The firm will look at the procurement of the Pearson Vue solution, how it was tested, how concerns about the system were approached, what preparations were undertaken, as well as the timeline of events on the day of the exam.

The inquiry is expected to be completed by mid-May.

“As a college we need to understand what went wrong and our trainee physicians, quite rightly want answers,” RACP president Dr Catherine Yelland said in a statement.

“Once we have the inquiry’s findings and recommendations we will do everything possible to ensure that trainee physicians are using an exam system that is robust.” 

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