Mastery learning program to teach sleep study scoring

Lawrence J. Epstein, David T. Plante, Ilene M. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Scoring a polysomnogram is an essential skill for sleep medicine trainees to meet Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Sleep Medicine Milestones. Appraisal is based on faculty evaluation rather than objective competency assessment. We developed a computer-based polysomnogram scoring curriculum, utilizing the mastery learning method, then compared achievement of competency using the new curriculum against standard institutional training. METHODS: The scoring program consisted of a pretest assessment, sequential acquisition of knowledge utilizing online modules, a posttest, and competency assessment. Fellows needed to demonstrate mastery of each module before moving ahead. Competency was demonstrating ≥ 90% on interscorer reliability assessment on 5 studies (out of up to 10 attempts). Participating fellows were assigned to Mastery Learning Participants (MLP) or Traditional Learning Participants (TLP) groups and completed the program within the first 1-3 months of training. RESULTS: Of 87 fellows enrolled in the program, 75 participants completed the program (40 MLP and 35 TLP). Among completers, there was no difference in the proportion that achieved competency (MLP 90.0% vs TLP 97.1%; P = .36) or studies needed to achieve competency (MLP 7.25 ± 1.3 vs TLP 7.41 ± 1.3; P = .60). Pretest scores were not significantly different between groups (MLP 61.2% ± 15.9 vs TLP 57.6% ± 16.6; P = .35), but MLP posttest scores were higher than TLP (MLP 80.9% ± 8.8 vs TLP 76.4% ± 9.8; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated similar outcomes utilizing a novel, computer-based modular interactive course compared to traditional methods of teaching polysomnogram scoring. We used a mastery learning paradigm and set specific objective competency levels for this skill. CITATION: Epstein LJ, Plante DT, Rosen IM. Mastery learning program to teach sleep study scoring. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(12):2745-2750.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2745-2750
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • competency
  • mastery learning
  • polysomnogram
  • scoring


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