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Surgery residency curriculum examination scores predict future American Board of Surgery in-training examination performance. J Surg Educ 2014;71(5):743-7



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84906054304   8 Citations


IMPORTANCE: A protected block curriculum (PBC) with postcurriculum examinations for all surgical residents has been provided to assure coverage of core curricular topics. Biannual assessment of resident competency will soon be required by the Next Accreditation System.

OBJECTIVE: To identify opportunities for early medical knowledge assessment and interventions, we examined whether performance in postcurriculum multiple-choice examinations (PCEs) is predictive of performance in the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) and clinical service competency assessments.

DESIGN: Retrospective single-institutional education research study.

SETTING: Academic general surgery residency program.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 49 surgical residents.

INTERVENTION: Data for PGY1 and PGY2 residents participating in the 2008 to 2012 PBC are included. Each resident completed 6 PCEs during each year.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The results of 6 examinations were correlated to percentage-correct ABSITE scores and clinical assessments based on the 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies. Individual ABSITE performance was compared between PGY1 and PGY2. Statistical analysis included multivariate linear regression and bivariate Pearson correlations.

RESULTS: A total of 49 residents completed the PGY1 PBC and 36 completed the PGY2 curriculum. Linear regression analysis of percentage-correct ABSITE and PCE scores demonstrated a statistically significant correlation between the PGY1 PCE 1 score and the subsequent PGY1 ABSITE score (p = 0.037, β = 0.299). Similarly, the PGY2 PCE 1 score predicted performance in the PGY2 ABSITE (p = 0.015, β = 0.383). The ABSITE scores correlated between PGY1 and PGY2 with statistical significance, r = 0.675, p = 0.001. Performance on the 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies correlated between PGY1 and PGY2, r = 0.729, p = 0.001, but did not correlate with PCE scores during either years.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Within a mature PBC, early performance in a PGY1 and PGY2 PCE is predictive of performance in the respective ABSITE. This information can be used for formative assessment and early remediation of residents who are predicted to be at risk for poor performance in the ABSITE.

Author List

Webb TP, Paul J, Treat R, Codner P, Anderson R, Redlich P


Philip N. Redlich MD, PhD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Robert W. Treat PhD Associate Professor in the Academic Affairs department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Travis P. Webb MD, MHPE Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Clinical Competence
Internship and Residency
Retrospective Studies
Specialties, Surgical
Specialty Boards
United States