RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Current radiology practice increasingly involves interpretation of volumetric data sets. In contrast, most radiology tests still contain only 2D images. We introduced a new testing tool that allows for stack viewing of volumetric images in our undergraduate radiology program. We hypothesized that tests with volumetric CT-images enhance test quality, in comparison with traditional completely 2D image-based tests, because they might better reflect required skills for clinical practice.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two groups of medical students (n=139; n=143), trained with 2D and volumetric CT-images, took a digital radiology test in two versions (A and B), each containing both 2D and volumetric CT-image questions. In a questionnaire, they were asked to comment on the representativeness for clinical practice, difficulty and user-friendliness of the test questions and testing program. Students' test scores and reliabilities, measured with Cronbach's alpha, of 2D and volumetric CT-image tests were compared.
RESULTS: Estimated reliabilities (Cronbach's alphas) were higher for volumetric CT-image scores (version A: .51 and version B: .54), than for 2D CT-image scores (version A: .24 and version B: .37). Participants found volumetric CT-image tests more representative of clinical practice, and considered them to be less difficult than volumetric CT-image questions. However, in one version (A), volumetric CT-image scores (M 80.9, SD 14.8) were significantly lower than 2D CT-image scores (M 88.4, SD 10.4) (p<.001). The volumetric CT-image testing program was considered user-friendly.
CONCLUSION: This study shows that volumetric image questions can be successfully integrated in students' radiology testing. Results suggests that the inclusion of volumetric CT-images might improve the quality of radiology tests by positively impacting perceived representativeness for clinical practice and increasing reliability of the test.