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Acad Med. 2000 Jul;75(7):737-41.

The influence of task formats on the accuracy of medical students' self-assessments.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Education, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0201, USA. tfitz@umich.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Accurate self-assessment is an essential skill for the self-directed learning activities and appropriate patient referral decisions of practicing physicians. However, many questions about the characteristics of self-assessment remain unanswered. One is whether self-assessment is a generalizable skill or dependent on the characteristics of the task. This study examines the self-assessment skills of medical students across two task formats: performance-based and cognitive-based.

METHOD:

In 1997 and 1998, fourth-year medical students at the University of Michigan assessed their own performances on ten stations of a clinical examination. The examination used two formats: performance tasks (the examination or history taking of standardized patients) and cognitive tasks (interpreting vignettes or test results and then answering paper-and-pencil questions). Three measures of self-assessment accuracy were used: a bias index (average difference between the students' estimates of their performances and their actual scores), a deviation index (average absolute difference between estimate and actual score), and an actual score-estimate-of-performance correlation (the correlation between the estimate and actual scores).

RESULTS:

The student bias and deviation indices were similar on the cognitive and the performance tasks. The correlations also indicated similarity between the two types of tasks.

CONCLUSION:

The results indicate that the format of the task does not influence students' abilities to self-assess their performances, and that students' self-assessment abilities are consistent over a range of skills and tasks. The authors also emphasize the importance of sampling tasks while conducting self-assessment research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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