RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Radiology practice has become increasingly based on volumetric images (VIs), but tests in medical education still mainly involve two-dimensional (2D) images. We created a novel, digital, VI test and hypothesized that scores on this test would better reflect radiological anatomy skills than scores on a traditional 2D image test. To evaluate external validity we correlated VI and 2D image test scores with anatomy cadaver-based test scores.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2012, 246 medical students completed one of two comparable versions (A and B) of a digital radiology test, each containing 20 2D image and 20 VI questions. Thirty-three of these participants also took a human cadaver anatomy test. Mean scores and reliabilities of the 2D image and VI subtests were compared and correlated with human cadaver anatomy test scores. Participants received a questionnaire about perceived representativeness and difficulty of the radiology test.
RESULTS: Human cadaver test scores were not correlated with 2D image scores, but significantly correlated with VI scores (r = 0.44, P < .05). Cronbach's α reliability was 0.49 (A) and 0.65 (B) for the 2D image subtests and 0.65 (A) and 0.71 (B) for VI subtests. Mean VI scores (74.4%, standard deviation 2.9) were significantly lower than 2D image scores (83.8%, standard deviation 2.4) in version A (P < .001). VI questions were considered more representative of clinical practice and education than 2D image questions and less difficult (both P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: VI tests show higher reliability, a significant correlation with human cadaver test scores, and are considered more representative for clinical practice than tests with 2D images.