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The Medical History Test--A Behavioral Measure of Attitude

Cliff, Norman; Frederiksen, Norman O.; Riche, Charles V.; Stokes, Joseph, III
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Achievement Tests, Audiotapes, Clinical Diagnosis, Medical Education, Medical Evaluation, Medical History Test, Medical Students, Physician Patient Relationship, Student Attitudes, Test Construction


A Medical History Test was constructed with the primary purpose of assessing the effect of an experimental program in medical education on the medical student's interpretative skill and "whole patient"- oriented attitude. The test was composed of a series of tape recordings from which the examinee was to note the relevant information and questions he or she would want to ask, and to write a differential diagnosis and plan of management. The written responses were scored by comparing each statement in them to a set of keyed statements and summing the scores for each scorable item to arrive at Skill and Attitude scores. The Skill score was found to have a reliability of about .49 and .56 in two classes and to have low positive correlations with other measures of and achievement. The Attitude score had reliabilities of .73 and aptitude .74; it did not relate to any measure but the Skill score, and that in only one class. Neither score differentiated experimental from control groups. A revised format of the test was found to yield a more reliable Skill score, but it was highly influenced by response sets.

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