Original Publication
Open Access

Critical Synthesis Package: Faculty Observer Rating Scale (FORS)

Published: August 1, 2014 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9853

Included in this publication:

  • Critical Analysis of the Faculty Observer Rating Scale.pdf
  • Faculty Observer Scale & Rating Guide.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications. It is also part of a discontinued collection that focused on the presentation of health sciences education assessment tools and their reported validity data.


This Critical Synthesis Package contains: (1) a Critical Analysis of the psychometric properties and application to health sciences education for the Faculty Observer Rating Scale (FORS), and (2) a copy of the instrument and scoring guide developed by Desiree Lie, MD, MSEd.

A focus on cultural competency inclusion in medical education has resulted in an identified need for training medical professionals in interpreter-mediated communications skills. These skills have been identified as a distinct learning entity under the AAMC Tool for Assessing Cultural Competency Training. A review of medical literature has shown the existence of best communication practices when medical interpreters are used. However, there is a paucity of measures for assessing interpreter mediated communication skills. The FORS was developed to assess medical students’ interpreter-mediated communication skills. It is a behaviorally anchored rating scale based on eleven observable behaviors that are rated via a Likert Scale on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (outstanding). The creators of FORS have offered robust data in supports of its validity, specifically with respect to internal consistency and inter-rater agreement. FORS has shown good reliability in two separate clinical case contexts as well as four different languages. However, the major limitation of this instrument is that the FORS scale does not correlate at all with two of the three scales that reportedly measure the same construct. Given this there are some concerns regarding FORS construct validity. Further, it is unclear whether the FORS can be administered for live encounters as it was validated in videotaped encounters only.

Educational Objectives

  1. To describe the purpose and basic properties of the Faculty Observer Rating Scale (FORS), including number of items and scales, and psychometric properties;
  2. To describe the application of the FORS to the field of health sciences education;
  3. To evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the FORS; and
  4. To provide the FORS and supplemental materials to aid in its administration.

Author Information

  • Nur-Ain Nadir, MD: State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


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Nadir N. Critical Synthesis Package: Faculty Observer Rating Scale (FORS). MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9853. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9853