In human medicine, standardised patients (SP) have been shown to reliably and accurately assess learners’ communication performance in high-stakes certification Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), offering a feasible way to reduce the need for recruitment, time commitment and coordination of faculty assessors. In this study, we evaluated the use of standardised clients (SC) as a viable option for assessing veterinary students’ communication performance. We designed a four-station, two-track communication skills OSCE. SC assessors used an adapted nine-item Liverpool Undergraduate Communication Assessment Scale (LUCAS). Faculty used a 21-item checklist derived from the Calgary-Cambridge Guide (CCG) and a five-point global rating scale. Participants were second year veterinary students (n=96). For the four stations, intrastation reliability (α) ranged from 0.63 to 0.82 for the LUCAS, and 0.73 to 0.87 for the CCG. The interstation reliability coefficients were 0.85 for the LUCAS and 0.89 for the CGG. The calculated Generalisability (G) coefficients were 0.62 for the LUCAS and 0.60 for the CGG. Supporting construct validity, SC and faculty assessors showed a significant correlation between the LUCAS and CCG total percent scores (r=0.45, P<0.001), and likewise between the LUCAS and global rating scores (r=0.49, P<0.001).Study results support that SC assessors offer a reliable and valid approach for assessing veterinary communication OSCE.
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