Entrustable Professional Activity-Based Summative Performance Assessment in the Surgery Clerkship

Amy L. Holmstrom, Matthew C. Chia, Celia L. O'Brien, David D. Odell, Jason Burke, Amy L. Halverson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to 1) assess the performance Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) when integrated into the summative assessment of third-year medical students on the surgery clerkship and 2) to compare EPAs to traditional clinical performance assessment tools. DESIGN: EPA assessments were collected prospectively from a minimum of 4 evaluators at the completion of each surgical clerkship rotation from November 2019 to June 2019. Overall EPA-based clinical performance scores were calculated as the sum of the mean EPA score from each evaluator. A rating of overall clinical performance called the clinical performance appraisal (CPA) was also collected. EPA ratings were compared to the CPA score, National Board of Medical Examiners exam score, objective structured clinical exam scores, and final clerkship grade. SETTING: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a tertiary care teaching institution in Chicago, IL. RESULTS: Overall, 446 evaluations (111 students) were included in the analysis. The aggregate EPA scores ranged from 11.6-24.0 (mean 19.9 ± 2.0), and the CPA scores ranged from 4.4-9.0 (mean 7.6 ± 0.7). The variance among learners in EPA scores was significantly higher than CPA scores (p < 0.001). The aggregate EPA scores correlated well with CPA scores (Spearman's rho 0.803) but had lesser, positive correlations with the objective structured clinical exam (rho 0.153) and National Board of Medical Examiners (rho 0.265) scores. When all EPA scores were included in ordinal logistic regression, only EPA 6, oral presentation of patients, was independently associated with students’ final grades (OR: 10.05, 95%CI 1.41-71.80; p = 0.02). CONCLUSION: Integration of EPAs for use in clinical performance assessment of medical students is feasible within a surgery clerkship. Compared to a global clinical performance assessment, EPA-based assessment provided better discrimination of clinical performance among learners. Use of EPAs may better identify advanced learners and those that need additional time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1150
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Assessment
  • EPAs
  • Surgical education
  • Undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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