PURPOSE: To evaluate whether clinical-teaching skills could be improved by providing teachers with augmented student feedback. METHOD: A randomized, controlled trial in 1994 included 42 attending physicians and 39 residents from the Department of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine who taught 110 students on medicine ward rotations for one-month periods. Before teaching rotations, intervention group teachers received norm-referenced, graphic summaries of their teaching performances as rated by students. At mid-month, intervention group teachers received students' ratings augmented by individualized teaching-effectiveness guidelines based on the Stanford Faculty Development Program framework. Linear models were used to analyze the students' mean ratings of teaching behaviors at mid-month and end-of-month. Independent variables included performance ratings, intervention status, teacher status, teaching experience, and interactions with baseline ratings. RESULTS: Complex interactions with baseline performance were found for most teaching categories at mid-month and end-of-month. The intervention-group teachers who had high baseline performance scores had higher student ratings than did the control group teachers with similar baseline scores; the intervention group teachers who had low baseline performance scores were rated lower than were the control group teachers with comparable baseline scores. The residents who had medium or high baseline scores were rated higher than were the attending physicians with comparable baseline scores; the performance of the residents who had low baseline scores was similar to that of the attending physicians with comparable baseline scores. CONCLUSION: Baseline performance is important for targeting those teachers most likely to benefit from augmented student feedback. Potential deterioration in teaching performance warrants a reconsideration of distributing students' ratings to teachers with low baseline performance scores.
(C) 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges