Setting a Minimum Passing Standard for the Uncertainty Communication Checklist Through Patient and Physician Engagement

David H. Salzman, Kristin L. Rising, Kenzie A. Cameron, Rhea E. Powell, Dimitri Papanagnou, Amanda Doty, Katherine Piserchia, Lori Latimer, William C. McGaghie, Danielle M. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Historically, medically trained experts have served as judges to establish a minimum passing standard (MPS) for mastery learning. As mastery learning expands from procedure-based skills to patient-centered domains, such as communication, there is an opportunity to incorporate patients as judges in setting the MPS. Objective: We described our process of incorporating patients as judges to set the MPS and compared the MPS set by patients and emergency medicine residency program directors (PDs). Methods: Patient and physician panels were convened to determine an MPS for a 21-item Uncertainty Communication Checklist. The MPS for both panels were independently calculated using the Mastery Angoff method. Mean scores on individual checklist items with corresponding 95% confidence intervals were also calculated for both panels and differences analyzed using a t test. Results: Of 240 eligible patients and 42 eligible PDs, 25 patients and 13 PDs (26% and 65% cooperation rates, respectively) completed MPS-setting procedures. The patient-generated MPS was 84.0% (range 45.2-96.2, SD 10.2) and the physician-generated MPS was 88.2% (range 79.7-98.1, SD 5.5). The overall MPS, calculated as an average of these 2 results, was 86.1% (range 45.2-98.1, SD 9.0), or 19 of 21 checklist items. Conclusions: Patients are able to serve as judges to establish an MPS using the Mastery Angoff method for a task performed by resident physicians. The patient-established MPS was nearly identical to that generated by a panel of residency PDs, indicating similar expectations of proficiency for residents to achieve skill "mastery."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of graduate medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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