The script concordance test in radiation oncology: validation study of a new tool to assess clinical reasoning

Lambert, Carole; Gagnon, Robert; Nguyen, David; Charlin, Bernard
January 2009
Radiation Oncology;2009, Vol. 4, p1
Academic Journal
Background: The Script Concordance test (SCT) is a reliable and valid tool to evaluate clinical reasoning in complex situations where experts' opinions may be divided. Scores reflect the degree of concordance between the performance of examinees and that of a reference panel of experienced physicians. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate SCT's usefulness in radiation oncology. Methods: A 90 items radiation oncology SCT was administered to 155 participants. Three levels of experience were tested: medical students (n = 70), radiation oncology residents (n = 38) and radiation oncologists (n = 47). Statistical tests were performed to assess reliability and to document validity. Results: After item optimization, the test comprised 30 cases and 70 questions. Cronbach alpha was 0.90. Mean scores were 51.62 (± 8.19) for students, 71.20 (± 9.45) for residents and 76.67 (± 6.14) for radiation oncologists. The difference between the three groups was statistically significant when compared by the Kruskall-Wallis test (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The SCT is reliable and useful to discriminate among participants according to their level of experience in radiation oncology. It appears as a useful tool to document the progression of reasoning during residency training.


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