Development of a Method to Measure Clinical Reasoning in Pediatric Residents: The Pediatric Script Concordance Test
The Script Concordance Test (SCT) is an assessment method of clinical reasoning skills. SCT is designed to assess a candidate's ability to reason when faced with decisions encountered in the three phases of clinical decision-making: diagnosis, investigation and treatment. Challenges have been raised related to psychometric properties of SCT scores. Data about acceptability of the SCT method are also needed. Objectives: 1) To examine the validity of a Pediatric Script Concordance Test (PSCT) in
... nce Test (PSCT) in discriminating clinical reasoning ability between junior postgraduate year (PGY) 1 -2 and senior PGY 3 -4 pediatric residents, and pediatricians, 2) To determine if higher reliability could be achieved by applying specific test design strategies to the PSCT and 3) To explore trainees'/physicians' acceptability of the PSCT. Methods: A 24-case/137 question PSCT was administered to 91 residents from four Canadian training centers. Each resident's PSCT was scored based on the aggregate responses of 21 pediatricians (Panel of Experts (POE)). ANOVA was used to compare across the 3 levels of experience. Reliability was calculated using Cronbach's α coefficient. Participants completed a post-test survey about the acceptability of PSCT. Results: Overall, a statistical difference in performance was noted across all levels of experience, F = 22.84 (df = 2); p < 0.001. The POE had higher scores than both senior (mean difference = 9.15; p < 0.001) and junior residents (mean difference = 14.90; p < 0.001). The seniors performed better than juniors (mean difference = 5.76; p < 0.002). Reliability of PSCT scores (Cronbach's α) was 0.85. Participants expressed keen interest and engagement in the PSCT. Conclusions: PSCT is a valid, reliable, feasible and acceptable method to assess the core competency of clinical reasoning. We suggest the PSCT may be effectively integrated into formative residency assessment and with increasing exposure, experience and refinement may soon be ready to pilot within summative assessments in pediatric medical education.