MEASUREMENT RESEARCH ASSOCIATES
TEST INSIGHTS
April 2008
Greetings!
The reliability of medically related oral certification examinations is critical because pass or fail decisions are made. Over the past 20 years, research and practice have demonstrated that the reliability of oral examinations is influenced by the structure of the examination and use of the multi-facet model to produce accurate candidate results.
 
 
 
Surintorn Suanthong, Ph.D.
Manager, Test Analysis and Research
 

Reliability of Oral Certification Examinations

Oral certification examinations are often noted for their validity rather than their reliability.  However, if pass or fail decisions are being made using oral certification examinations, then the pass or fail decisions should be as accurate as possible. 

 

The structure of the oral certification examination is critical to insure reliability.  It is important to structure the examination scoring so that the examiners record as much information as possible about the performance of the candidates.  When examiners give analytic ratings independently for standardized clinical tasks within cases, more detailed information about the candidate's performance is recorded.  However, if only summative holistic ratings are recorded, examiners mentally combine information about the candidate's performance and enter one holistic rating which provides little scoring information.  When analytic scores are used, there is enough information to calculate candidate means, standard deviations, and measurement errors, as well as, candidate separation reliability ((SD2 - SE2)/SD2) estimates that document the accuracy of the measured differences among candidate performance. This reliability calculation requires that multiple ratings be awarded to each candidate.  Most oral certification examinations use a rating scale to measure candidate performance. 

 

The table below shows the structure of several medically related oral certification examinations and the candidate separation reliability.  These oral certification examinations include standardized cases and require the examiner to give analytic ratings for standardized tasks within each case.  Tasks such as diagnosis, treatment, outcome, or ethics may be rated. The content of the cases covers pertinent subjects for the specialty. Depending on the number of examiners, cases and tasks, a great deal of information can be collected about the candidate's performance. Oral exams are never completely without subjectivity; however; analytic scoring and the use of the multi-facet analysis model provides enough information about the candidate, so that there is measurable accuracy with regard to candidate outcomes.

 

Oral Certification Exam

Number of cases per candidate

Number of tasks within cases

Number of examiners per case

Total number of ratings given to a candidate

Candidate-separation reliability

Exam 1

6

4

2

48

0.95

Exam 3

3

10

2

60

0.97

Exam 3

5

7 or 9

2

82

0.92

Exam 4

6

7

2

84

0.95

Exam 5

17

3

2

102

0.97

 
Measurement Research Associates, Inc.
505 North Lake Shore Dr., Suite 1304
Chicago, IL  60611
Phone: (312) 822-9648     Fax: (312) 822-9650
 


Coming Rasch-related Events
March 21, 2019, Thur. 13th annual meeting of the UK Rasch user group, Cambridge, UK, http://www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/events/uk-rasch-user-group-2019
April 4 - 8, 2019, Thur.-Mon. NCME annual meeting, Toronto, Canada,https://ncme.connectedcommunity.org/meetings/annual
April 5 - 9, 2019, Fri.-Tue. AERA annual meeting, Toronto, Canada,www.aera.net/Events-Meetings/Annual-Meeting
April 12, 2019, Fri. On-line course: Understanding Rasch Measurement Theory - Master's Level (G. Masters), https://www.acer.org/au/professional-learning/postgraduate/rasch
May 24 - June 21, 2019, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
May 22 - 30, 2019, Wed.-Thu. Measuring and scale construction (with the Rasch Model), University of Manchester, England, https://www.cmist.manchester.ac.uk/study/short/intermediate/measurement-with-the-rasch-model/
June 4 - 7, 2019, Tue.-Fri.In-Person Italian Rasch Analysis Workshop based on RUMM (Fabio La Porta and Serena Caselli; entirely in Italian). Prof David Andrich from Western Australia University will be hosted by the workshop. For enquiries and registration email to workshop.rasch@gmail.com
June 17-19, 2019, Mon.-Wed. In-person workshop, Melbourne, Australia: Applying the Rasch Model in the Human Sciences: Introduction to Rasch measurement (Trevor Bond, Winsteps), Announcement
June 20-21, 2019, Thurs.-Fri. In-person workshop, Melbourne, Australia: Applying the Rasch Model in the Human Sciences: Advanced Rasch measurement with Facets (Trevor Bond, Facets), Announcement
June 28 - July 26, 2019, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
July 2-5, 2019, Tue.-Fri. 2019 International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO) Joint Symposium, St. Petersburg, Russia,https://imeko19-spb.org
July 11-12 & 15-19, 2019, Thu.-Fri. A Course in Rasch Measurement Theory (D.Andrich), University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, flyer - http://www.education.uwa.edu.au/ppl/courses
Aug 5 - 10, 2019, Mon.-Sat. 6th International Summer School "Applied Psychometrics in Psychology and Education", Institute of Education at HSE University Moscow, Russia.https://ioe.hse.ru/en/announcements/248134963.html
Aug. 9 - Sept. 6, 2019, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets), www.statistics.com
August 25-30, 2019, Sun.-Fri. Pacific Rim Objective Measurement Society (PROMS) 2019, Surabaya, Indonesia https://proms.promsociety.org/2019/
Oct. 11 - Nov. 8, 2019, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
Nov. 3 - Nov. 4, 2019, Sun.-Mon. International Outcome Measurement Conference, Chicago, IL,http://jampress.org/iomc2019.htm
Jan. 24 - Feb. 21, 2020, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
May 22 - June 19, 2020, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
June 26 - July 24, 2020, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
Aug. 7 - Sept. 4, 2020, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Many-Facet Rasch Measurement (E. Smith, Facets), www.statistics.com
Oct. 9 - Nov. 6, 2020, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
June 25 - July 23, 2021, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Practical Rasch Measurement - Further Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com