Assessing students’ communication skills: validation of a global rating
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- Scheffer, S., Muehlinghaus, I., Froehmel, A. et al. Adv in Health Sci Educ (2008) 13: 583. doi:10.1007/s10459-007-9074-2
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Communication skills training is an accepted part of undergraduate medical programs nowadays. In addition to learning experiences its importance should be emphasised by performance-based assessment. As detailed checklists have been shown to be not well suited for the assessment of communication skills for different reasons, this study aimed to validate a global rating scale. A Canadian instrument was translated to German and adapted to assess students’ communication skills during an end-of-semester-OSCE. Subjects were second and third year medical students at the reformed track of the Charité-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin. Different groups of raters were trained to assess students’ communication skills using the global rating scale. Validity testing included concurrent validity and construct validity: Judgements of different groups of raters were compared to expert ratings as a defined gold standard. Furthermore, the amount of agreement between scores obtained with this global rating scale and a different instrument for assessing communication skills was determined. Results show that communication skills can be validly assessed by trained non-expert raters as well as standardised patients using this instrument.