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Acad Med. 2003 Aug;78(8):844-50.

Measuring inter-rater reliability of the sequenced performance inventory and reflective assessment of learning (SPIRAL).

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Office of Medical Education, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, 58202-9037, USA.



To measure the inter-rater reliability of the Sequenced Performance Inventory and Reflective Assessment of Learning (SPIRAL), a twenty-three item scoring rubric designed to assess first and second-year students' competencies such as "acquisition of knowledge," "peer teaching and communication skills," and "professional behavior" in a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.


In 2001, the authors constructed a 69-item multiple-choice questionnaire consisting of descriptions of "prototypical" (representing real students) PBL student performances. For each of the 23 SPIRAL items, the authors chose competency descriptions of an "emerging," a "developing," and an "advanced" student (69 prototypical students). These descriptions were obtained from narrative comments by PBL facilitators of real students in their classes in 2000-2001. Seventeen experienced facilitators (PBL tutors) were subsequently asked to rank the 69 prototypical students based on SPIRAL anchor points in the three competency levels. Kendall's coefficient of concordance was used to test inter-rater reliability. Modes were also determined to illustrate the extent to which the ratings of the 17 facilitators aligned with the ratings anticipated by the authors.


Overall, inter-rater scoring for all items combined was considered to be reliable (Kendall's coefficient of concordance W =.75). Inter-rater scoring was also determined for each of the 23 SPIRAL items, with Ws ranging from.97 to.53. Facilitators rated students according to 55 of the 69 SPIRAL descriptors as the researchers anticipated.


The scoring rubric is reliable. Further criterion-related validation study is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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