How accurate is the accreditation council for graduate medical education (ACGME) resident survey? Comparison between ACGME and in-house GME survey

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Journal of Surgical Education








Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Professionalism


Purpose: Increasing importance is being assigned to the annual Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Resident/Fellow survey. In certain circumstances, the survey has prompted site visits for programs with significant areas of noncompliance. However, the dichotomous "yes/no" responses available for most questions on the ACGME survey limit the range of resident responses. Our Graduate Medical Education (GME) department administers an annual survey similar in content to the ACGME survey but with answers using a 5-point Likert scale. The purpose of the current study was to compare the responses obtained on the ACGME survey with our in-house GME survey. Methods: Responses to the 2009 ACGME and GME surveys were compared among 26 general surgery residents from a single institution. Fifteen questions assessed similar information on both surveys; these questions related to faculty support, rotation/program evaluation, work and educational environment, and duty-hour compliance. Results: Of the 15 questions compared on the 2 surveys, significant differences were found in the following areas: faculty time spent teaching, interference of other trainees, and rotation emphasis of education over other concerns. In each instance, resident responses on the ACGME survey were less favorable compared with the responses elicited on the GME survey. Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that responses obtained on the ACGME survey may inaccurately reflect the magnitude of noncompliance found in certain areas. We propose that this discrepancy may be a result of the limited range of responses available on the ACGME survey. © 2010 Association of Program Directors in Surgery.

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