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J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Jan;22(1):13-6.

Relationship between peer assessment during medical school, dean's letter rankings, and ratings by internship directors.

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  • 1Office of Educational Evaluation and Research, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14624, USA.



It is not known to what extent the dean's letter (medical student performance evaluation [MSPE]) reflects peer-assessed work habits (WH) skills and/or interpersonal attributes (IA) of students.


To compare peer ratings of WH and IA of second- and third-year medical students with later MSPE rankings and ratings by internship program directors.


Participants were 281 medical students from the classes of 2004, 2005, and 2006 at a private medical school in the northeastern United States, who had participated in peer assessment exercises in the second and third years of medical school. For students from the class of 2004, we also compared peer assessment data against later evaluations obtained from internship program directors.


Peer-assessed WH were predictive of later MSPE groups in both the second (F = 44.90, P < .001) and third years (F = 29.54, P < .001) of medical school. Interpersonal attributes were not related to MSPE rankings in either year. MSPE rankings for a majority of students were predictable from peer-assessed WH scores. Internship directors' ratings were significantly related to second- and third-year peer-assessed WH scores (r = .32 [P = .15] and r = .43 [P = .004]), respectively, but not to peer-assessed IA.


Peer assessment of WH, as early as the second year of medical school, can predict later MSPE rankings and internship performance. Although peer-assessed IA can be measured reliably, they are unrelated to either outcome.

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