Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze whether faculty ratings of residents, using the mini-CEX oral exam format, differed in stringency or were influenced by the clinical setting. It also sought to learn whether the examiners were satisfied with the format.
Method: A mini-CEX encounter consisted of a single faculty member observing a resident conduct a focused history and physical examination in an inpatient, outpatient, or emergency room setting. After asking the resident for a diagnosis and treatment plan, the faculty member rated the resident and provided educational feedback. The encounters were intended to be short and occur as a routine part of the training, so each resident would be evaluated on many occasions by different faculty.
Sample: Sixty-four attending physicians evaluated residents from five internal medicine training programs; data were analyzed for 355 mini-CEX encounters involving 88 residents.
Results: There were not large differences among the examiners in their ratings. Moreover, there were not great differences among the ratings in terms of the training program with which the examiner was associated, the setting of the mini-CEX, or the nature of the patient. The examiners were generally satisfied with the format and their level of satisfaction was correlated with the residents' perceptions of the format.
Conclusion: The mini-CEX adapts itself to a broad range of clinical situations, and these results show that it should produce roughly comparable scores over examiners and settings. This makes it a worthwhile device for evaluation at the local level.
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