Evaluation of two selection tests for recruitment into radiology specialty training

Fiona Patterson, Alec Knight, Liam McKnight, Thomas Booth

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This study evaluated whether two selection tests previously validated for primary care General Practice (GP) trainee selection could provide a valid shortlisting selection method for entry into specialty training for the secondary care specialty of radiology.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of data from radiology applicants who also applied to UK GP specialty training or Core Medical Training. The psychometric properties of the two selection tests, a clinical problem solving (CPS) test and situational judgement test (SJT), were analysed to evaluate their reliability. Predictive validity of the tests was analysed by comparing them with the current radiology selection assessments, and the licensure examination results taken after the first stage of training (Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) Part 1).


The internal reliability of the two selection tests in the radiology applicant sample was good (α ≥ 0.80). The average correlation with radiology shortlisting selection scores was r = 0.26 for the CPS (with p < 0.05 in 5 of 11 shortlisting centres), r = 0.15 for the SJT (with p < 0.05 in 2 of 11 shortlisting centres) and r = 0.25 (with p  < 0.05 in 5 of 11 shortlisting centres) for the two tests combined. The CPS test scores significantly correlated with performance in both components of the FRCR Part 1 examinations (r = 0.5 anatomy; r = 0.4 physics; p < 0.05 for both). The SJT did not correlate with either component of the examination.


The current CPS test may be an appropriate selection method for shortlisting in radiology but would benefit from further refinement for use in radiology to ensure that the test specification is relevant. The evidence on whether the SJT may be appropriate for shortlisting in radiology is limited. However, these results may be expected to some extent since the SJT is designed to measure non-academic attributes. Further validation work (e.g. with non-academic outcome variables) is required to evaluate whether an SJT will add value in recruitment for radiology specialty training and will further inform construct validity of SJTs as a selection methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170
JournalBmc Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016


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