A comparison of free-response and cued-response diagnosis scores in an evaluation of clinical competence utilizing standardized patients

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Office of Medical Education; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



*Clinical Clerkship; *Clinical Competence; Cues; *Diagnosis; *Education, Medical, Undergraduate; *Educational Measurement; Humans; Physical Examination


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medical Education | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


Evaluation of clinical competence as assessed by standardized patients has been extensively reported in the literature. The methods used to document student performance and derive scores vary among investigators and include free- and cued-response items. Standardized patients (SPs), students, or faculty observers may complete the paperwork. The extent to which these different methods are comparable in obtaining similar diagnosis scores is the focus of this paper. In the summer of 1989 we compared two different formats for evaluating diagnostic skills during an ongoing assessment of clinical skills of fourth-year medical students. The questions addressed were: 1. Is there a difference between what the SP records as the diagnosis given to him or her by the student and what the student records as having told the SP? Is there a difference in this information as recorded by a faculty observer? 2. Is there a relationship between diagnosis scores generated from free- and cued-response items? How do each of these correlate with the data the student collects from the SP? 3. Is there a difference in the range of diagnosis scores between free- and cued-response formats?


Acad Med. 1990 Sep;65(9 Suppl):S27-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed