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Eval Health Prof. 2007 Mar;30(1):64-74.

The relationship between experience with standardized patient examinations and subsequent standardized patient examination performance: a potential problem with standardized patient exam validity.

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  • 1The Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, USA.


Standardized patient (SP) exams are becoming an important part of testing clinical skills. The dynamics of this test format warrant exploration. This study is designed to measure the relationship between experience with SPs and performance on a SP examination. A general linear model is used to determine if a relationship exists and the pattern of that relationship as experience increases. There is a linear association between increased experience and better performance in technical domains. In interpersonal skill domains, there is a curvilinear association between experience and performance with improved performance with moderate levels of experience but not in the most experienced group. Different levels of experience with SPs are associated with differences in performance. The varied pattern of associations suggests a possible practice effect or test-taking behavior. Additional studies are needed to assess this potential effect on SP exam validity.

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