Medical Student Performance Evaluation Using a System of Common, Non-Hierarchical Descriptors
Andrew O Crockett1, *Michael Hulme2
1Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH;2Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Objective: Design and implement a system for medical student evaluation utilizing common, randomized, non-hierarchical descriptors. Design: Validation Study Setting: Medical student summative evaluations completed after a required 4-week clinical rotation in surgery.Participants: Surgical educators at a single institution developed and validated the novel evaluation instrument. Forty 3rd medical students from a single institution completing their surgery clerkship from Oct 2018 to May 2019. Interventions: None Main Outcome Measures: Primary: Evaluate student performance with comparison to the standard instrument. Secondary: faculty acceptance. Results: We identified and categorized common descriptors in comments from two years of student evaluations in the domains of Medical Knowledge, Clinical/Communication Skills, and Professionalism. Sixteen clinical educators rated each of 30 descriptors as representing “Honors”, “High Pass”, “Pass” or “Fail” and used these in the final non-hierarchical, present-or-absent evaluation instrument. Thirteen attending surgeons completed 50 evaluations using the novel instrument on 40 students who completed rotations between October 2018 and May 2019. The average time for completion was 68 seconds. Faculty comments include “I love this” and “This is so much easier and intuitive than the other evaluation”. We observed a good positive correlation in assessments of “Honors”, “High Pass”, “Pass” or “Fail” performance between the two evaluation techniques. Conclusions: Common performance descriptors can be used in a randomized, non-hierarchical format to accurately evaluate medical student performance. This technique is clear, intuitive and easily adopted by evaluating faculty. Further study into student acceptance of descriptor-based evaluations and their use in both formative and summative feedback should be undertaken.
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