November 1996

Assessing Student Performance on a Pediatric Clerkship

Author Affiliations

From The Children's National Medical Center (Dr Greenberg) and Office of Medical Education and Center for Health Services and Clinical Research (Dr Getson), Children's Research Institute, the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC. Dr Getson is now with the Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologic Evaluation and Research, Rockville, Md.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(11):1209-1212. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170360099017

Objective:  To determine whether any of 4 parameters used as evaluation methods in the pediatric clerkship at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, could predict a student's performance, as measured by the final grade.

Design:  A retrospective study in which the following data were collected: (1) a record of the diagnoses and total number of patients seen during the rotation, (2) clinical performance grade, (3) the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) pediatric shelf test score, (4) case presentation grade, and (5) the final clerkship grade for overall performance.

Setting:  Third-year pediatric clerkship in the 1987-1988 academic year at Children's National Medical Center, the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Results:  A total of 128 students had complete data. Correlations among the clinical parameters, ie, number of patients seen, clinical grade, case grade, and the NBME shelf test score were all statistically nonsignificant. In addition, multiple regression modeling of NBME test scores, using measures such as clinical grade, average case grade, and number of patients seen, was unsuccessful, with only clinical performance entering the regression model. In contrast, modeling of the final clerkship grade resulted in explaining almost 80% of the variation on a student's final grade (R2 = 0.79). Variables submitted to the model were number of patients seen, clinical grade, average case presentation grade, and ordered examination score. Last, a highly significant relationship (χ2=15.98, P<.001) was noted between students receiving a final grade of honors and an "A" on their case grade.

Conclusions:  Results confirmed that there is no single best predictor of performance on a pediatric clerkship. While there was only a weak correlation between each single measure and the final grade, together these accounted for 80% of the variation in students' scores. Based on the study data, the use of varied evaluative methods to determine a student's final grade is recommended.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:1209-1212