Reliable and valid tools for measuring surgeons' teaching performance: residents' vs. self evaluation

J Surg Educ. 2012 Jul-Aug;69(4):511-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2012.04.003.


Background: In surgical education, there is a need for educational performance evaluation tools that yield reliable and valid data. This paper describes the development and validation of robust evaluation tools that provide surgeons with insight into their clinical teaching performance. We investigated (1) the reliability and validity of 2 tools for evaluating the teaching performance of attending surgeons in residency training programs, and (2) whether surgeons' self evaluation correlated with the residents' evaluation of those surgeons.

Materials and methods: We surveyed 343 surgeons and 320 residents as part of a multicenter prospective cohort study of faculty teaching performance in residency training programs. The reliability and validity of the SETQ (System for Evaluation Teaching Qualities) tools were studied using standard psychometric techniques. We then estimated the correlations between residents' and surgeons' evaluations.

Results: The response rate was 87% among surgeons and 84% among residents, yielding 2625 residents' evaluations and 302 self evaluations. The SETQ tools yielded reliable and valid data on 5 domains of surgical teaching performance, namely, learning climate, professional attitude towards residents, communication of goals, evaluation of residents, and feedback. The correlations between surgeons' self and residents' evaluations were low, with coefficients ranging from 0.03 for evaluation of residents to 0.18 for communication of goals.

Conclusions: The SETQ tools for the evaluation of surgeons' teaching performance appear to yield reliable and valid data. The lack of strong correlations between surgeons' self and residents' evaluations suggest the need for using external feedback sources in informed self evaluation of surgeons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Cohort Studies
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Specialties, Surgical / education*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Teaching / standards*
  • Teaching / trends