Assessing the mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise in comparison to a national specialty examination

Med Educ. 2006 Oct;40(10):950-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02566.x.


Purpose: To evaluate the reliability and validity of the Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (mini-CEX) for postgraduate year 4 (PGY-4) internal medicine trainees compared to a high-stakes assessment of clinical competence, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Comprehensive Examination in Internal Medicine (RCPSC IM examination).

Methods: Twenty-two PGY-4 residents at the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary were evaluated, during the 6 months preceding their 2004 RCPSC IM examination, with a mean of 5.5 mini-CEX encounters (range 3-6). Experienced Royal College examiners from each site travelled to the alternate university to assess the encounters.

Results: The mini-CEX encounters assessed a broad range of internal medicine patient problems. The inter-encounter reliability for the residents' mean mini-CEX overall clinical competence score was 0.74. The attenuated correlation between residents' mini-CEX overall clinical competence score and their 2004 RCPSC IM oral examination score was 0.59 (P = 0.01).

Conclusion: By examining multiple sources of validity evidence, this study suggests that the mini-CEX provides a reliable and valid assessment of clinical competence for PGY-4 trainees in internal medicine.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • British Columbia
  • Clinical Clerkship / standards*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged