Program for laparoscopic urological skills assessment: Setting certification standards for residents

Irene M. Tjiam*, Barbara M. A. Schout, Ad J. M. Hendrikx, Arno M. M. Muijtjens, Albert J. J. A. Scherpbier, J. Alfred Witjes, Cees P. M. Van der Vleuten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Web of Science)


Aim: There is growing pressure from the government and the public to define proficiency standards for surgical skills. Aim of this study was to estimate the reliability of the Program for Laparoscopic Urological Skills (PLUS) assessment and to set a certification standard for second-year urological residents. Methods: Fifty participants were assessed on performance time and performance quality to investigate the reliability of the PLUS assessment. Generalisability coefficient of 0.8, on a scale of 0 to 1.0, was considered to indicate good reliability for assessment purposes. Pass/fail standards were based on laparoscopic experience: Novices, intermediates, and experts (>100 procedures). The pass/fail standards were investigated for the PLUS performances of 33 second-year urological residents. Results: Fifteen novices, twenty-three intermediates and twelve experts were included. An inter-trial reliability of >0.80 was reached with two trials for each task. Inter-rater reliability of the quality measurements was 0.79 for two judges. Pass/fail scores were determined for the novice/intermediate boundary and the intermediate/expert boundary. Pass rates for second-year residents were 63.64% and 9.09%, respectively. Conclusion: The PLUS assessment is reliable for setting a certification standard for second-year urological residents that serves as a starting point for residents to proceed to the next level of laparoscopic competency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
JournalMinimally Invasive Therapy & Allied Technologies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Laparoscopy
  • assessment
  • skills training
  • certification

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