Lessons learned from six years of international administrations of the ECFMG's SP-based clinical skills assessment

Acad Med. 1998 Jan;73(1):84-91. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199801000-00017.


Purpose: The Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) conducted international clinical skills assessments (CSAs) to evaluate the readiness of foreign medical graduates to enter U.S. residency programs, to validate national medical examinations in other countries, and to introduce other countries to new methods of evaluating medical students.

Method: The ECFMG conducted CSA studies in the United States, Israel, Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), Ukraine, and Brazil between 1989 and 1995. ECFMG staff worked with local teams in following a seven-phase implementation process. The CSAs were conducted in each country's native language, and clinical cases were translated from English and culturally adapted. A total of 636 examinees took a ten-station standardized patient-based examination.

Results: A comparison of test results indicated stable psychometric properties and similar patterns of relationships among test components across all six countries. In every country, physical-examination and patient-note mean scores were lower than were history-taking scores, indicating the possibility of common skill deficiencies.

Conclusion: The successful completion of international CSA projects in six countries suggests that high-quality standardized CSA projects are feasible and can be implemented from long distances.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Europe
  • Foreign Medical Graduates*
  • Humans
  • International Educational Exchange
  • Internship and Residency
  • Israel
  • United States