Clinical skills as demonstrated by a comprehensive clinical performance examination: Who performs better - Men or women?

Steven A. Haist, Donald B. Witzke, Susan Quinlivan, Amy Murphy-Spencer, John F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose: Determine whether gender predicted student performance on a clinical performance examination (CPX) when controlling for pre-matriculation and medical school performance. Method: A sixteen-station CPX, utilizing standardized patients (SPs), was administered to the fourth-year students three successive years at one United States medical school. Scores for each student by discipline and skills across stations were generated. Bivariate correlation and multiple regression analyses were performed to determine relationships between students' scores and pre-matriculation information (age, gender, MCAT, and undergraduate GPA) and medical school performance (first-, second- and third-year GPA, and USMLE Step 1). Results: The CPX mean score for all students was 65.1% (SD 6.2). The mean total score for men (n = 182) and women (n = 93) was 64.0% and 67.0%, respectively. Being a woman, positively affected a student's score in two models controlling for pre-matriculation and medical school performance by 2.8% or 0.47 standard deviations (SD) and 2.3% or 0.39 SD, respectively. Women scored numerically higher than men in all seven disciplines (internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry, p < 0.05) and for nine skills across all stations (introduction, history, physical examination, counseling and interpersonal, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Women performed better than men on the University of Kentucky CPX. Being a woman was a positive and independent predictor of performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-199
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • Clinical performance examination
  • Clinical skills
  • Clinical skills performance and assessment
  • Gender
  • Gender differences
  • Medical students
  • Standardized patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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