The reliability of resident self-evaluation of operative performance

Daniel E. Kendrick, MD, Michael J. Clark, PhD, Ilana Fischer, MD, Jordan D. Bohnen, MD, Grace J. Kim, MD, Brian C. George, MD

American Journal of Surgery, August 2020



Self-assessment is critical to professional self-regulation yet many trainees may not reliably self-evaluate. We examine the gap between resident and faculty perceptions of trainee operative performance and contributing factors.
Methods: Surgery resident and faculty evaluations of trainee performance were collected from 14 academic institutions using smartphone-based performance assessments. Differences in resident/faculty ratings evaluating the same procedure were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Bayesian mixed models.


Of 7382 evaluations, 46% trainees and faculty performance ratings were discrepant (r 1⁄4 0.47), with 80% residents rating themselves lower than faculty in those cases. This gap existed regardless of case complexity and widened as trainees gained experience. Trainees who overrated themselves had the lowest mean performance scores from faculty.


Half of residents perceived their performance differently from faculty, and this difference widened for senior residents. Future focus should be to provide opportunity for trainees to improve skills to reliably assess themselves before graduation.