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Using the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE) to Assess the Psychiatry Medical Knowledge Milestones in Psychiatry



The introduction of the Milestone Project underscored the need for objective assessments of resident progress across the competencies. Therefore, the authors examined the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE) utility for measuring improvements in medical knowledge (MK).


The authors compared the mean performance for each MK subcompetency by resident year for all residents taking the PRITE from 2015 to 2017 (18,175 examination administrations). In addition, they surveyed psychiatry residency program directors regarding how well they thought they teach these subcompetencies.


Increases in MK subcompetencies by resident year were significant for Psychopathology (p < 0.003), Psychotherapy (p < 0.002), and Somatic Therapies (p < 0.000). Development, Clinical Neuroscience, and Practice of Psychiatry did not show statistically significant differences between postgraduate years. Eighty psychiatry program directors responded to the survey and felt optimistic about their ability to teach the Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Somatic Therapies, and Practice of Psychiatry subcompetencies.


The PRITE measured significant improvements in medical knowledge for several of the core subcompetencies. The program director’s responses would suggest that the lack of statistically significant differences found for Development and Clinical Neuroscience reflects areas in need of curricular development. The disparity between PRITE performance and program director perception of the Practice of Psychiatry subcompetency may reflect difficulties in defining the scope of this subcompetency. Overall, this suggests that structured examinations help measure improvements in certain subcompetencies and may also help identify curricular needs. However, there may be potential problems with the definition of some subcompetencies.

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The authors wish to thank Laura Edgar and Stanley Hamstra of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Nancy Siderits of Prometric, and Kathryn Delk of the American College of Psychiatrists for their assistance and advice at various stages of this project.


The authors received support from the American College of Psychiatrists, who provided access to the required data and funding for the effort required to isolate and export the needed data.

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Correspondence to Robert J. Boland.

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The protocol was reviewed by the Partners Healthcare Institutional Review Board, which determined that the project met the criteria for exemption 45 CFR 46.101(b) (1) Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings involving normal educational practices.


The authors were all members of the PRITE Editorial Board or PRITE Commission at the time of this project. They did not receive any financial or other support as part of this role.

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Boland, R.J., Dingle, A.D., Travis, M.J. et al. Using the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE) to Assess the Psychiatry Medical Knowledge Milestones in Psychiatry. Acad Psychiatry 46, 331–337 (2022).

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  • Clinical competence/standards
  • Education
  • Graduate/standards
  • Educational measurement/standards
  • Internship and residency/standards