Simpler standards for local performance examinations: the Yes/No Angoff and whole-test Ebel

Teach Learn Med. Jul-Sep 2008;20(3):212-7. doi: 10.1080/10401330802199450.


Background: The whole-test Ebel and Yes/No Angoff methods offer the possibility of faster and easier standard-setting exercises for local, medium-stakes performance exams.

Purpose: We sought to establish if these less demanding methods might be substituted for the traditional but complex case-level Ebel.

Methods: Six faculty judges each used all three methods to set standards for six standardized-patient checklists used for 178 fourth-year medical students. We compared the cut scores, passing rates, reliability, ease of use, and credibility of the three methods.

Results: The three methods produced roughly equivalent cut scores. Generalizability of judgments was .94 and .96 for the case-level and whole-test Ebel, and .76 for the Yes/No Angoff. Judges found the simplified methods more credible than the case-level Ebel. The Yes/No Angoff method was preferred by five of six judges.

Conclusions: The whole-test Ebel and the Yes/No Angoff may be simple and realistic options for setting standards for local performance exams.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Students, Medical