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Open Access Research article

On line clinical reasoning assessment with Script Concordance test in urology: results of a French pilot study

Louis Sibert124*, Stefan J Darmoni2, Badisse Dahamna2, Marie-France Hellot3, Jacques Weber4 and Bernard Charlin5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Rouen University Hospital, 1, rue de Germont 76031 Rouen Cedex, France

2 CISMeF, Rouen University Hospital, France & GCSIS, LITIS Lab, Rouen University, France, CISMeF & GCSIS, 1, rue de Germont, 76031 Rouen Cedex, France

3 Department of Biostatistics, Rouen University Hospital, 1, rue de Germont, 76031 Rouen Cedex, France

4 Department of Medical Education, Rouen University Hospital, 1, rue de Germont, 76031 Rouen Cedex, France

5 Unit for Research and Development in Health Sciences Education, Faculté de Médecine-Direction, University of Montreal, CP 6128, succursale centre-ville, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:45  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-45

Published: 28 August 2006

Abstract

Background

The Script Concordance test (SC) test is an assessment tool that measures the capacity to solve ill-defined problems, that is, reasoning in a context of uncertainty. This study assesses the feasibility, reliability and validity of the SC test made available on the Web to French urologists.

Methods

A 97 items SC test was developed based on major educational objectives of French urology training programmes. A secure Web site was created with two sequential modules: a) The first one for the reference panel to elaborate the scoring system; b) The second for candidates with different levels of experience in urology: Board certified urologists, chief-residents, residents, medical students. All participants were recruited on a voluntary basis. Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics of the participants' scores and factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) to study differences between groups' means. Reliability was evaluated with Cronbach's alpha coefficient.

Results

The on line SC test has been operational since June 2004. Twenty-six faculty members constituted the reference panel. During the following 10 months, 207 participants took the test online (124 urologists, 29 chief-residents, 38 residents, 16 students). No technical problem was encountered. Forty-five percent of the participants completed the test partially only. Differences between the means scores for the 4 groups were statistically significant (P = 0.0123). The Bonferroni post-hoc correction indicated that significant differences were present between students and chief-residents, between students and urologists. There were no differences between chief-residents and urologists. Reliability coefficient was 0.734 for the total group of participants.

Conclusion

Feasibility of Web-based SC test was proved successful by the large number of participants who participated in a few months. This Web site has permitted to quickly confirm reliability of the SC test and develop strategy to improve construct validity of the test when applied in the field of urology. Nevertheless, optimisation of the SC test content, with a smaller number of items will be necessary. Virtual medical education initiative such as this SC test delivered on the Internet warrants consideration in the current context of national pre-residency certification examination in France.