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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1

VIVA cards

Department of Public Health Dentistry, KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication3-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Prathiba A Patil
Department of Public Health Dentistry, KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belagavi, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_36_17

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How to cite this article:
Patil PA. VIVA cards. J Dent Res Rev 2017;4:1

How to cite this URL:
Patil PA. VIVA cards. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 29];4:1. Available from: https://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2017/4/1/1/209363

Today's ever-evolving health-care system has increased the need for change in the methodology of learning and assessment in medical education. Assessment and assessment instruments have a great impact on learning, hence the adage “Assessment drives learning.” It is important to use accurate assessment tool to improve the desired type of learning.

The traditional viva examination is a predominant assessment method followed in the dental institutions for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. This traditional oral examination consists of a dialog or discussion with the examiner who asks questions to which candidate must reply. Orals give the examiner the unique opportunity to explore students' depth of knowledge as well as their ability to express it in a precise manner. Despite this, there are some challenges often faced in the traditional viva examinations. The atmosphere during traditional oral examination is often threatening, and at times, the dialog takes the shape more of a confrontation than discussion. The subjectivity in the traditional viva can at times be intimidating to the students. Questions asked vary from examiner to examiner and may not cover the syllabus. Most of the times, questions are of recall type rather than those which test the analytical and problem-solving ability of the students. As there is no uniformity of questions and due to their difficulty level, the assessment of the students based on these questions may not be fair. Besides this, there can be some personal biases and carryover effect (performance of the previous student affecting score of the next) which are more likely to occur in a traditional oral examination. A significant part of the error in oral performance ratings is due to the tendency for some evaluators to be lenient and others to be stringent in their assignment of ratings.

All these problems may be overcome by replacing the traditional viva by structured oral examination (SOE). This can be done by predeciding the syllabus to be covered, competencies to be measured, and preparing a blueprint/checklist of questions to be asked in the viva, i.e., VIVA cards.

VIVA cards should be prepared for every chapter based on the following:

  • Must know – something which is common and important
  • Good to know – something which is important but not common
  • Nice to know – something that is rare but interesting.

In the VIVA examination, the VIVA cards are displayed and the candidate is free to choose five or ten cards as per the examiner. There is no monotony of questions from the examiner. There is no bias in mark allocation because of favor from the examiner, as each question has marks and the student can judge for himself/herself how much the candidate has scored.

Merits of SOE or VIVA cards:

  • Are better in terms of reducing bias and minimizing luck factor
  • Anxiety/fear among the students is also less
  • Uniformity of questions makes SOE a fair assessment tool
  • Reduction in the monotony of asking same questions to all the students, especially when the students' population is larger. This can be avoided by creating more such sets of questions/checklists with properly adjusted difficulty level of the questions
  • VIVA cards will maintain uniformity and objectivity besides imparting some flexibility to the examiner
  • In SOE, each question has a score, which the examiner records to calculate the total marks. This score can be shared with the student which can give them a feedback of where they did not do well.

Initially, the preparation of VIVA cards maybe a tedious process, but once in place, it can become an efficient assessment tool. The external and internal examiners can share their set of VIVA cards during the examination and hence there can be a large data set of VIVA cards for the viva examination.


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