Psychometric properties of the Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) skills examination
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The Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) manual skills examination is a simulation-based assessment of five foundational skills in endoscopic surgery. With the FES skills exam becoming part of the board certification process in general surgery, continual investigation is needed to determine the validity with which the exam is supporting inferences and decision-making about examinees, as well as how it might be improved.
The present study retrospectively analyzed performance and demographic details for the initial 344 examinees completing the FES skills exam.
The five tasks showed distinct degrees of difficulty, with Loop Reduction being especially difficult for examinees. Tasks related to one another positively but moderately, suggesting that the exam assesses both general and task-specific skills. The number of lower-endoscopic cases completed by an examinee strongly predicted performance, while upper endoscopy experience and career level (e.g., resident vs. fellow vs. practicing) did not. Hand dominance and the type of simulator used were not found to be related to scores. However, three demographic variables that related to one another—gender, glove size, and height—were also related to performance and pass/fail status.
This study’s results generally support the validity argument for the FES skills exam while pointing to additional investigations to be undertaken as the exam is applied more broadly.
KeywordsPsychomotor skills Validity Psychometrics Simulation Surgery
We would like to gratefully acknowledge Jessica Mischna, Sarah Colon, and Robyann Jumaoas from the SAGES FES Program for their help in providing the de-identified data.
Compliance with ethical standards
Drs. Lineberry and Ritter have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.
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