ACGME Milestones in the Real World: A Qualitative Study Exploring Response Process Evidence

Ashley M. Maranich*, Paul A. Hemmer, Sebastian Uijtdehaage, Alexis Battista

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background Since the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) introduced the Milestones in 2013, the body of validity evidence supporting their use has grown, but there is a gap with regard to response process. Objective The purpose of this study is to qualitatively explore validity evidence pertaining to the response process of individual Clinical Competency Committee (CCC) members when assigning Milestone ratings to a resident. Methods Using a constructivist paradigm, we conducted a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 8 Transitional Year (TY) CCC members from 4 programs immediately following a CCC meeting between November and December 2020. Participants were queried about their response process in their application of Milestone assessment. Analysis was iterative, including coding, constant comparison, and theming. Results Participant interviews identified an absence of formal training and a perception that Milestones are a tool for resident assessment without recognizing their role in program evaluation. In describing their thought process, participants reported comparing averaged assessment data to peers and time in training to generate Milestone ratings. Meaningful narrative comments, when available, differentiated resident performance from peers. When assessment data were absent, participants assumed an average performance. Conclusions Our study found that the response process used by TY CCC members was not always consistent with the dual purpose of the Milestones to improve educational outcomes at the levels of residents and the program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of graduate medical education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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