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BMJ. 2005 May 28;330(7502):1251-3. Epub 2005 May 9.

Use of SPRAT for peer review of paediatricians in training.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Child Health, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield S10 2HT.



To determine whether a multisource feedback questionnaire, SPRAT (Sheffield peer review assessment tool), is a feasible and reliable assessment method to inform the record of in-training assessment for paediatric senior house officers and specialist registrars.


Trainees' clinical performance was evaluated using SPRAT sent to clinical colleagues of their choosing. Responses were analysed to determine variables that affected ratings and their measurement characteristics.


Three tertiary hospitals and five secondary hospitals across a UK deanery.


112 paediatric senior house officers and middle grades.


95% confidence intervals for mean ratings; linear and hierarchical regression to explore potential biasing factors; time needed for the process per doctor.


20 middle grades and 92 senior house officers were assessed using SPRAT to inform their record of in-training assessment; 921/1120 (82%) of their proposed raters completed a SPRAT form. As a group, specialist registrars (mean 5.22, SD 0.34) scored significantly higher (t = - 4.765) than did senior house officers (mean 4.81, SD 0.35) (P < 0.001). The grade of the doctor accounted for 7.6% of the variation in the mean ratings. The hierarchical regression showed that only 3.4% of the variation in the means could be additionally attributed to three main factors (occupation of rater, length of working relationship, and environment in which the relationship took place) when the doctor's grade was controlled for (significant F change < 0.001). 93 (83%) of the doctors in this study would have needed only four raters to achieve a reliable score if the intent was to determine if they were satisfactory. The mean time taken to complete the questionnaire by a rater was six minutes. Just over an hour of administrative time is needed for each doctor.


SPRAT seems to be a valid way of assessing large numbers of doctors to support quality assurance procedures for training programmes. The feedback from SPRAT can also be used to inform personal development planning and focus quality improvements.

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