Do global rating forms enable program directors to assess the ACGME competencies?

Acad Med. 2004 Jun;79(6):549-56. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200406000-00010.


Purpose: In 1999 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandated that GME programs require their residents to be proficient in six general competencies. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether an existing global rating form could be modified to assess these competencies.

Method: A rating form covering 23 skills described in the ACGME competencies was developed. The directors of 92 specialty and subspecialty programs at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia were asked to rate residents at the end of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 academic years.

Results: Ratings for 1,295 of 1,367 (95%) residents were available. Residents were awarded the highest mean ratings on items tied to professionalism, compassion, and empathy. The lowest mean ratings were assigned for items related to consideration of costs in care and management of resources. Factor analysis indicated that the program directors viewed overall competence in two dimensions of medical knowledge and interpersonal skills. This factor structure was stable for groups of specialties, and residents' gender and training level. Mean ratings in each dimension were progressively higher for residents at advanced levels of training.

Conclusion: Global rating forms, the tool that program directors use most frequently to document residents' competence, may not be adequate to assess the six general competencies. The results are consistent with earlier published research indicating that physicians view competence in just two broad dimensions, which questions the premise of the six ACGME competencies. Further research is needed to validate and measure six distinct dimensions of clinical competence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation*
  • Education, Medical*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Philadelphia
  • Program Evaluation
  • Specialization*