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Ultrasound Student Assessment – Phase II and III

usa-iconFeedback from ultrasound studies programs, and the individual opinions of Directors and instructors formed the basis for Phase I of Pegasus Lectures’ Ultrasound Student Assessment multi-year, longitudinal study.  We summarized initial findings in our last blog posting.

pass-iconAfter aggregating survey responses from educators and administrators, we then compared these to each institution’s stated admission policy. From there, we correlated the data to a defined metric of “success”. In this study, “success” was construed as a student graduating from the program. By considering what factors instructors stated led to greater success, and by comparing “success” with specific admission policies, a series of categories were determined. These categories became the foundation for Phase II. Specifically, these categories deemed important for success were:

Coordination                  Problem-solving                           Spatial Visualization 

Judgment                               Logic

In addition, many specific extracurricular activities such as playing music and solving puzzles were repeatedly mentioned.


Schools accepting applicants with little or no selectivity (i.e. High School Diploma only required) had significantly negative correlations to “success” outcomes.

Schools with requirements that included:

  • Interviews,
  • A GPA threshold
  • Evaluations testing problem-solving skills and “technical” knowledge

positively correlated to “success” outcomes.

Active_LearningFor Phase II, specific software was created to test all of the above categories, with the addition of graph interpretation and a novel approach to testing Persistence.  This was administered initially to study-participating college instructors.  The college instructors fell into one of two categories, those who taught and scanned ultrasound, and those with similar backgrounds but had never performed ultrasound.  Scores on each of the sections were correlated according to these two groups.  There was a perceptible difference in the scores between the instructor groups, indicating that it might be possible to determine ultrasound required skills.

For Phase III, the testing was optimized by modifying some questions and adding questions of certain types to increase emphasis and thoroughness of testing.  The test was then given to actual ultrasound applicants and enrolled students within our surveyed institutions.

After a period of time, the instructors ranked the students in terms of physics abilities, clinical abilities, scanning abilities, and overall abilities to perform ultrasound.  Of course, the instructors were blind to the assessment exam results.  Additionally, actual credentialing exam scores were entered when they existed.

The results of the assessment exam were then statically compared with the performance ranking and credentialing exam scores for each student.  The results were then used to create an algorithm that can be used to determine which students have a greater likelihood of success in an ultrasound program.

In our next blog (and closing out 2017) we will discuss the TAKE-AWAYS from this study as it impacts


Frank Miele, MSEE , President of Pegasus Lectures, Inc.  Frank graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a triple major in physics, mathematics, and engineering. While at Dartmouth, he was a Proctor Scholar and received citations for academic excellence in comparative literature, atomic physics and quantum mechanics, and real analysis. Frank was a research and design engineer and project leader, designing ultrasound equipment and electronics for more than ten years at Hewlett Packard Company. As a designer of ultrasound, he has lectured across the country to sonographers, physicians, engineers and students on myriad topics.


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