Academic Faculty Demonstrate Weak Agreement in Evaluating Orthopaedic Surgery Residents

Taylor R. Bradley, Cale A. Jacobs, Ryan D. Muchow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:As objective metrics fade, subjective elements of orthopaedic surgery applicants carry increasing importance during recruitment. Academic orthopaedic surgeons believe they can select for high-performing orthopaedic residents. However, can they agree? The purpose of this study was (1) to analyze an academic orthopaedic surgery department to determine whether they agree on which residents performed best during residency and; (2) to correlate preresidency and intraresidency factors with postresidency evaluations of resident performance.Methods:With Institutional Review Board [IRB] approval, an orthopaedic surgery department completed surveys to evaluate residency performance for 10 years of graduated residents (2012-2022). Faculty determined (1) Post-Residency Class Rank (PRCR) - ranked from the highest (1) to lowest performing resident (5) relative to their class based on faculty perspective of performance - and (2) Rank List Score (RLS) - ranked based off the 5-point AOA SLOR used during recruitment interviews. RLS assessed how likely the department would have graduates in the program again based on residency performance. Free marginal Cohen's kappa statistics assessed faculty inter-rater agreement. Preresidency metrics (United States Medical Licensing Exam [USMLE] 1 and 2 scores, research publications, etc) were correlated with Orthopaedic In-Training Exam (OITE) scores, research productivity, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) scores, and faculty-derived rankings. Linear regressions with forward variable entry (p & lt; 0.05) were used to determine factors associated with excellent resident performance.Results:Eighteen of 25 faculty members (72%) provided survey responses evaluating 46 residents. Faculty agreed 37% and 38% of the time for PRCR (kappa 0.26) and RLS (kappa 0.23), respectively. Step 2 score was the only preresidency factor significantly associated with PRCR (p = 0.03, r2= 0.15) and RLS (p = 0.02, r2= 0.3). The only intraresidency factor significantly correlated with PRCR (p = 0.002, r2= 0.50) and RLS (p = 0.01, r2= 0.39) was PGY-4 OITE score.Conclusions:An academic orthopaedic surgery department is able to come to a consensus on evaluations of residency performance relative to peers in the same year of training (PRCR) and an objective standard (RLS). Step 2 and Post-Graduate Year (PGY)-4 OITE scores were the only preresidency and intraresidency factors with significant association to higher postresidency, faculty-derived performance scores.Level of Evidence:III.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23.00061
JournalJBJS Open Access
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 29 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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