Student Selected Components - a modern curriculum to complement a systems-based medical degree

Trevor Killeen, Jane Skinner, Yoon Loke, Barbara Jennings (Lead Author)

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The 2009 version of the GMC’s Tomorrows Doctors describes student selected components as “an integral part of the curriculum, enabling students to demonstrate mandatory competences while allowing choice in studying an area of particular interest to them”. The definition of SSCs and guidance for their delivery and assessment have been interpreted in a variety of ways by individual medical schools and by regional consortia of medical schools.

To complement our systems-based MBBS modules we have developed a longitudinal Student Selected Studies (SSS) curriculum which has been reviewed and modified since 2011.

Throughout the SSS curriculum, students develop academic skills and competences such as literature review or developing a clinical or research question. In years 1 to 3 these competences are acquired whilst focusing on topics from a given theme of study, for example physiology, pharmacology or ethics. In year 4 the students apply the skills acquired in the earlier years to the evaluation of a case described in their own clinical-placement log-book.

In the first three years when students learn how to deliver formal presentations, using PowerPoint, conference-style posters, or anatomy demonstrations, they are given specialist tutor support, and feedback is given in formative assessments; allowing the students to make corrections and refine their skills before summative assessments take place.

Our curriculum development has been shaped by the use of a competency-based teaching and assessment strategy with a focus on the student’s longitudinal development through the use of a feedforward strategy (Hattie, 2007) during and after formative assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016

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