Get access

Assessing resident's knowledge and communication skills using four different evaluation tools


Jim Nuovo, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, Davis, 4860 Y Street, Suite 2300, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. Tel: +916 734 3248; Fax: +916 734 5461; E-mail:


Purpose  This study assesses the relationship between 4 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) outcome project measures for interpersonal and communication skills and medical knowledge; specifically, monthly performance evaluations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), the American Board of Family Practice in-training examination (ABFP–ITE) and the Davis observation code (DOC) practice style profiles.

Methods  Based on previous work, we have DOC scoring for 29 residents from the University of California, Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine. For all these residents we also had the results of monthly performance evaluations, 2 required OSCE exercises, and the results of 3 American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) ITEs. Data for each of these measures were abstracted for each resident. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess the presence or lack of correlation between each of these evaluation methods.

Results  There is little correlation between various evaluation methods used to assess medical knowledge, and there is also little correlation between various evaluation methods used to assess communication skills.

Conclusion  The outcome project remains a ‘work in progress’, with the need for larger studies to assess the value of different assessment measures of resident competence. It is unlikely that DOC will become a useful evaluation tool.