Written evaluation is not a predictor for skills performance in an Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support course

David L. Rodgers, Farhan Bhanji, Barbara R. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: Both a written cognitive knowledge evaluation and a practical evaluation that tests psychomotor skills, cognitive knowledge, and affective behaviors such as leadership and team skills are required for successful completion of American Heart Association (AHA) Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) course. The 2005 International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) Consensus on Science and Treatment Recommendations noted that in Basic Life Support (BLS) there is little to no correlation between written and practical skills. The current study was conducted to determine if there is a correlation between written and practical evaluations in an ACLS course. Methods: 34 senior nursing students from four nursing programs participated in two separate ACLS classes, completing both the written and practical evaluations. Immediately following the courses, all participants served as team leader for a video recorded simulated cardiac arrest event. A panel of expert ACLS instructors who did not participate as instructors in the courses reviewed each video and independently scored team leaders' performances. Results: Spearman's rho correlation coefficient between the written test scores and practical skills performance was 0.194 (2-tailed significance = 0.272). Conclusion: The ACLS written evaluation was not a predictor of participant skills in managing a simulated cardiac arrest event immediately following an ACLS course. The single case simulations used in ACLS skills evaluation test a narrow portion of ACLS content while written evaluation tests can more practically test a broader spectrum of content. Both work in concert to define participant knowledge and neither should be used exclusively to determine participant competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-456
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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