This study aimed to develop a test with validity evidence for abdominal diagnostic ultrasound with a pass/fail-standard to facilitate mastery learning.
The simulator had 150 real-life patient abdominal scans of which 15 cases with 44 findings were selected, representing level 1 from The European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. Four groups of experience levels were constructed: Novices (medical students), trainees (first-year radiology residents), intermediates (third- to fourth-year radiology residents) and advanced (physicians with ultrasound fellowship). Participants were tested in a standardized setup and scored by two blinded reviewers prior to an item analysis.
The item analysis excluded 14 diagnoses. Both internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.96) and inter-rater reliability (0.99) were good and there were statistically significant differences (p < 0.001) between all four groups, except the intermediate and advanced groups (p = 1.0). There was a statistically significant correlation between experience and test scores (Pearson's r = 0.82, p < 0.001). The pass/fail-standard failed all novices (no false positives) and passed all advanced (no false negatives). All intermediate participants and six out of 14 trainees passed.
We developed a test for diagnostic abdominal ultrasound with solid validity evidence and a pass/fail-standard without any false-positive or false-negative scores.
• Ultrasound training can benefit from competency-based education based on reliable tests.
• This simulation-based test can differentiate between competency levels of ultrasound examiners.
• This test is suitable for competency-based education, e.g. mastery learning.
• We provide a pass/fail standard without false-negative or false-positive scores.
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