Introduction This paper describes a method of assessment of invasive clinical procedures which are currently being devised, and which are perceived to be a method that maybe used to complement OSCEs in overall clinical skills assessment. Objective The objective of the Structured Clinical Operative Tests (SCOT) is to introduce a greater level of objectivity to the assessment of operative clinical skills. Invasive or irreversible clinical operative procedures form a large part of dental undergraduate training and are by their very nature precluded from OSCE scenarios. It is also important to test intraoperative skills, communication skills and contingency management, and performance of these with awareness of the psychosocial context and ethical framework The paper describes the use of checklists in the monitoring of clinical operative skills in a more authentic clinical situation using the SCOT. Formative assessment Continuous assessment should a) record achievement of competency in as objective a manner as possible and b) should encourage continuous self-evaluation. In the SCOT the students reflect on their clinical performance and in consultation with their supervisors record their plans to improve their competence in that skill or procedure in the future. This is done immediately on completion of a clinical task while the experience is still fresh in the mind. This encourages deep reflective learning as opposed to superficial factual learning which is characteristic of the more traditional curriculum, and is described as supervisor validated self-assessment. Discussion The discussion outlines how SCOTs can be practically implemented and integrated into the undergraduate curriculum and an example of a SCOT is appended to the paper. The scope for using SCOTs in postgraduate assessment such as in VT / GPT is also described.
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