Background: No objective criteria have hitherto been available for assessing the individual talents and skills of trainees involved in GI endoscopy. The aim of our study was to compare the correlation of various psychological, psychomotor and cognitive tests (psy-tests) and of the subjective assessment of the trainer (expert assessment) at the beginning of the training with the objective performance of the trainees at the end of a one-week training period in upper GI endoscopy.
Methods: In a prospective study including 12 endoscopic centers, a total of 58 participants without any prior endoscopic experience were analyzed. During a practical training week in each center with the "Erlangen Endo-Trainer," an assessment using a "score card" protocol was used as reference method. Prior to the start of the training, various psy-tests (personality test, vigilance endurance test, test of spatial thinking and two tests of sensorimotor coordination) as well as assessment of the trainer were obtained. These parameters were compared with a blinded analysis of the performance at the end of the training.
Results: There was significant overall improvement during the training course. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that testing sensorimotoric coordination was significantly associated with defined improvement margins (odds ratio 11.46, p = 0.035). An expert's judgment on the prognosis correlated also significantly with the trainee's improvement (OR = 41.46; p = 0.018). Self-assessments were not significantly associated with performance or progress.
Conclusions: Sensorimotoric tests may provide a reliable prediction of the trainee's learning progress. In contrast to self-assessment, the judgement of an experienced endoscopist provides the best guidance for the young candidate endoscopists prior to the start of his/her endoscopic training program.