American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

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Are Your Assessment Scores and Feedback Reliable? A Statistical Review for the Surgical Educator 
(Posted March 2021)

This article is intended for surgical educators who have a role in generating assessments or interpreting their results. A trainee’s true performance or knowledge can never be directly measured. Instead, assessment scores serve as a proxy for this truth. Whenever an assessment is completed, error is introduced. Reliability measurements quantify this assessment error. Test-Retest, Internal-Consistency, and Intraclass Correlations are examples of reliability measurements that can quantify the consistency of assessment results. The article has the following learning objectives:

  • Define reliability and measurement error 
  • Interpret reliability measurements that quantify testing error
  • Apply reliability measurements to various surgical education assessment scenarios

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