Background: The Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery™ (FES) program consists of online materials and didactic and skills-based tests. All components were designed to measure the skills and knowledge required to perform safe flexible endoscopy. The purpose of this multicenter study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the hands-on component of the FES examination, and to establish the pass score.
Methods: Expert endoscopists identified the critical skill set required for flexible endoscopy. They were then modeled in a virtual reality simulator (GI Mentor™ II, Simbionix™ Ltd., Airport City, Israel) to create five tasks and metrics. Scores were designed to measure both speed and precision. Validity evidence was assessed by correlating performance with self-reported endoscopic experience (surgeons and gastroenterologists [GIs]). Internal consistency of each test task was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Test-retest reliability was determined by having the same participant perform the test a second time and comparing their scores. Passing scores were determined by a contrasting groups methodology and use of receiver operating characteristic curves.
Results: A total of 160 participants (17 % GIs) performed the simulator test. Scores on the five tasks showed good internal consistency reliability and all had significant correlations with endoscopic experience. Total FES scores correlated 0.73, with participants' level of endoscopic experience providing evidence of their validity, and their internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha) was 0.82. Test-retest reliability was assessed in 11 participants, and the intraclass correlation was 0.85. The passing score was determined and is estimated to have a sensitivity (true positive rate) of 0.81 and a 1-specificity (false positive rate) of 0.21.
Conclusions: The FES hands-on skills test examines the basic procedural components required to perform safe flexible endoscopy. It meets rigorous standards of reliability and validity required for high-stakes examinations, and, together with the knowledge component, may help contribute to the definition and determination of competence in endoscopy.