Purpose: The Interuniversity Center for Education in General Practice in Flanders, Belgium, supervises its general practice (GP) preceptors so they will meet the quality criteria required for their role in training general practitioners. The author developed a teaching skills assessment test to determine the individual preceptors' competence regarding teaching. The preliminary research described in this article, carried out in 1999, aimed to verify the reliability, validity, and acceptability of that multiple-station test.
Method: The test consists of seven stations in which simulated teaching situations are portrayed. In the present study, in each station, the GP preceptors (n = 35) had a learning conversation with a standardized GP trainee. The teaching situations were (1) drawing up a learning agenda, (2) leading an advisory conversation, (3) having an exchange of information about practice visits, (4) having a case-related discussion, (5) having a feedback conversation, (6) giving a demonstration of a particular skill or technique, and (7) having an intermediate evaluation conversation. In each station two observers independently scored the preceptors on a five-point scale.
Results: The preceptors' scores on the entire test ranged from 30 to 82.7 on a scale whose maximum was 100. The average score was 54.4 (SD, 11.6), and the average scores on the various stations fluctuated between 51.2 and 57.7. The interobserver reliability varied from good to very good for five of the seven stations (Pearson r = 0.77-0.92). The separate stations had a good internal consistency (Cronbach alpha = 0.85). Based on these research results only, the content validity and acceptability of the instrument are good for the GP preceptors in Flanders.
Conclusions: The study findings suggest that the teaching skills assessment test is a reliable instrument, especially fit for screening GP preceptors' teaching skills. However, validation of the instrument needs further investigation.