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J Grad Med Educ. 2012 Mar;4(1):47-51. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-11-00145.1.

Determining need for remediation through postrotation evaluations.



Postrotation evaluations are frequently used by residency program directors for early detection of residents with academic difficulties; however, the accuracy of these evaluations in assessing resident performance has been questioned.


This retrospective case-control study examines the ability of postrotation evaluation characteristics to predict the need for remediation. We compared the evaluations of 17 residents who were placed on academic warning or probation, from 2000 to 2007, with those for a group of peers matched on sex, postgraduate year (PGY), and entering class.


The presence of an outlier evaluation, the number of words written in the comments section, and the percentage of evaluations with negative or ambiguous comments were all associated with the need for remediation (P  =  .01, P  =  .001, P  =  .002, P  =  < .001, respectively). In contrast, United States Medical Licensing Examination step 1 and step 2 scores, total number of evaluations received, and percentage of positive comments on the evaluations were not associated with the need for remediation (P  =  .06, P  =  .87, P  =  .55, respectively).


Despite ambiguous evaluation comments, the length and percentage of ambiguous or negative comments did indicate future need for remediation.


Our study demonstrates that postrotation evaluation characteristics can be used to identify residents as risk. However, larger prospective studies, encompassing multiple institutions, are needed to validate various evaluation methods in measuring resident performance and to accurately predict the need for remediation.

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