Objectives To provide a formative educational test of knowledge that allows clinicians to measure themselves against their peers.
Design Annual Neurosurgery and Neurology knowledge tests, supported by the ABN & SBNS, have been available since 2014 (NSurg) and 2017 (Neurol). The NSurg test requires all candidates to participate over 3 days, answers are available after the test whereas the Neurol formative questions are available over 6 weeks, answers are available immediately.
Subjects There have been 821 first attempts at the formative questions; NSurg; 44, 63,187,143,164 and Neurol; 74, 146. Candidates are mostly from UK (NSurg 92%, Neurol 69%) and mostly specialty trainees (NSurg 98%, Neurol 63%).
Methods The formative questions are delivered through the ebrain virtual learning platform, statistics are generated automatically. Proposed questions are written by candidates as ‘payment’ for doing the formative test.
Results Mean Cronbach’s alpha was 87.3%. The mean score for the tests was 60.4% (Range 55.9%–77.9%). Feedback is voluntary: In 2018 17 feedback comments were received, 10 were unambiguously positive, 5 were mixed including criticism of one or more questions, 2 were judged to be neutral. Examples of feedback comments received this year included ‘Comprehensive exam that covers a wide range of topics’ and ‘This is of great value’.
Conclusions This formative educational initiative has high internal consistency and solid feedback. Although set up differently, it is proving both valuable and popular in both specialties.
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