The Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) skills test: factors associated with first-attempt scores and pass rate

Matthew Lineberry, Yoon Soo Park, Sara A. Hennessy, E. Matthew Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) program became required for American Board of Surgery certification as part of the Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum (FEC) for residents graduating in 2018. This study expands prior psychometric investigation of the FES skills test. Methods: We analyzed de-identified first-attempt skills test scores and self-reported demographic characteristics of 2023 general surgery residents who were required to pass FES. Results: The overall pass rate was 83%. “Loop Reduction” was the most difficult sub-task. Subtasks related to one another only modestly (Spearman’s ρ ranging from 0.11 to 0.42; coefficient α =.55). Both upper and lower endoscopic procedural experience had modest positive association with scores (ρ = 0.14 and 0.15) and passing. Examinees who tested on the GI Mentor Express simulator had lower total scores and a lower pass rate than those tested on the GI Mentor II (pass rates = 73% vs. 85%). Removing an Express-specific scoring rule that had been applied eliminated these differences. Gender, glove size, and height were closely related. Women scored lower than men (408- vs. 489-point averages) and had a lower first-attempt pass rate (71% vs. 92%). Glove size correlated positively with score (ρ = 0.31) and pass rate. Finally, height correlated positively with score (r = 0.27) and pass rate. Statistically controlling for glove size and height did not eliminate gender differences, with men still having 3.2 times greater odds of passing. Conclusions: FES skills test scores show both consistencies with the assessment’s validity argument and several remarkable findings. Subtasks reflect distinct skills, so passing standards should perhaps be set for each subtask. The Express simulator-specific scoring penalty should be removed. Differences seen by gender are concerning. We argue those differences do not reflect measurement bias, but rather highlight equity concerns in surgical technology, training, and practice. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3633-3643
Number of pages11
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Assessment
  • Gender
  • Psychomotor
  • Simulation
  • Surgery
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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