JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Does feedback matter? Practice-based learning for medical students after a multi-institutional clinical performance examination

Malathi Srinivasan, Karen E Hauer, Claudia Der-Martirosian, Michael Wilkes, Neil Gesundheit
Medical Education 2007, 41 (9): 857-65
17727526

CONTEXT: Achieving competence in 'practice-based learning' implies that doctors can accurately self- assess their clinical skills to identify behaviours that need improvement. This study examines the impact of receiving feedback via performance benchmarks on medical students' self-assessment after a clinical performance examination (CPX).

METHODS: The authors developed a practice-based learning exercise at 3 institutions following a required 8-station CPX for medical students at the end of Year 3. Standardised patients (SPs) scored students after each station using checklists developed by experts. Students assessed their own performance immediately after the CPX (Phase 1). One month later, students watched their videotaped performance and reassessed (Phase 2). Some students received performance benchmarks (their scores, plus normative class data) before the video review. Pearson's correlations between self-ratings and SP ratings were calculated for overall performance and specific skill areas (history taking, physical examination, doctor-patient communication) for Phase 1 and Phase 2. The 2 correlations were then compared for each student group (i.e. those who received and those who did not receive feedback).

RESULTS: A total of 280 students completed both study phases. Mean CPX scores ranged from 51% to 71% of items correct overall and for each skill area. Phase 1 self-assessment correlated weakly with SP ratings of student performance (r = 0.01-0.16). Without feedback, Phase 2 correlations remained weak (r = 0.13-0.18; n = 109). With feedback, Phase 2 correlations improved significantly (r = 0.26-0.47; n = 171). Low-performing students showed the greatest improvement after receiving feedback.

CONCLUSIONS: The accuracy of student self-assessment was poor after a CPX, but improved significantly with performance feedback (scores and benchmarks). Videotape review alone (without feedback) did not improve self-assessment accuracy. Practice-based learning exercises that incorporate feedback to medical students hold promise to improve self-assessment skills.

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