Predicting Academic Performance in Surgical Training

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During surgical residency, trainees are expected to master all the 6 competencies specified by the ACGME. Surgical training programs are also evaluated, in part, by the residency review committee based on the percentage of graduates of the program who successfully complete the qualifying examination and the certification examination of the American Board of Surgery in the first attempt. Many program directors (PDs) use the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) as an indicator of future performance on the qualifying examination. Failure to meet an individual program’s standard may result in remediation or a delay in promotion to the next level of training. Remediation is expensive in terms of not only dollars but also resources, faculty time, and potential program disruptions. We embarked on an exploratory study to determine if residents who might be at risk for substandard performance on the ABSITE could be identified based on the individual resident’s behavior and motivational characteristics. If such were possible, then PDs would have the opportunity to be proactive in developing a curriculum tailored to an individual resident, providing a greater opportunity for success in meeting the program’s standards.



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