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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-29

Intersecting gender, evaluations, and examinations: Averting gender bias in an obstetrics and gynecology clerkship in the United States

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, USA
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, USA

Correspondence Address:
Laura Jacques
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.178926

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Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether gender bias was present in the final third-year medical student obstetrics/gynecology clerkship performance evaluation completed by faculty and resident physicians. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of third-year medical students over the course of ten years (2004 – 2014) at a private medical school in the northern US state of Wisconsin. Each student's performance during their required 6-week obstetrics/gynecology clerkship was assessed by a combination of the student's scores on a clinical performance evaluation and on a standardized national subject examination. The clinical performance evaluations are comprised of 10 domains, each using a 9-point Likert scale and completed by faculty and resident physicians. All clerkships at our institution use the same evaluation form, which was designed and validated by the medical education statistics department. Final obstetrics/gynecology clerkship average clinical evaluation scores (Scale 1-9) and obstetrics/gynecology standardized national subject examination scores (Percentile 1-99) were compared to see if a gender based difference between subject examination and performance evaluation scores existed. Results: 1,976 student records were analyzed. Mean standardized national subject exam scores were significantly higher for females [74.4 (8.1)] than males [72.9 (8.2)] (Possible range 1-99) with Cohen's d = 0.2 (P = 0.001). The average female score on the clinical evaluation was mean (SD) = 7.4 (0.9), compared to an average clinical evaluation score of 7.2 (1.0) for males (P = 0.001) (range 1-9). Performance on the standardized national subject exam was significantly correlated (r = 0.3, P = 0.001) with clinical evaluation scores, and when split by gender the strength of the correlation remained. Discussion: Medical student performance on the standardized national subject exam correlated with clinical evaluations independent of gender. Women had higher scores on both the subject examination and the clinical performance evaluations. There was no evidence of gender bias in the students' clinical evaluation scores.

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