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J Grad Med Educ. 2011 Dec;3(4):566-70. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-10-00147.1.

Pediatric residents' learning styles and temperaments and their relationships to standardized test scores.



Board certification is an important professional qualification and a prerequisite for credentialing, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) assesses board certification rates as a component of residency program effectiveness. To date, research has shown that preresidency measures, including National Board of Medical Examiners scores, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society membership, or medical school grades poorly predict postresidency board examination scores. However, learning styles and temperament have been identified as factors that 5 affect test-taking performance. The purpose of this study is to characterize the learning styles and temperaments of pediatric residents and to evaluate their relationships to yearly in-service and postresidency board examination scores.


This cross-sectional study analyzed the learning styles and temperaments of current and past pediatric residents by administration of 3 validated tools: the Kolb Learning Style Inventory, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the Felder-Silverman Learning Style test. These results were compared with known, normative, general and medical population data and evaluated for correlation to in-service examination and postresidency board examination scores.


The predominant learning style for pediatric residents was converging 44% (33 of 75 residents) and the predominant temperament was guardian 61% (34 of 56 residents). The learning style and temperament distribution of the residents was significantly different from published population data (P  =  .002 and .04, respectively). Learning styles, with one exception, were found to be unrelated to standardized test scores.


The predominant learning style and temperament of pediatric residents is significantly different than that of the populations of general and medical trainees. However, learning styles and temperament do not predict outcomes on standardized in-service and board examinations in pediatric residents.

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