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A national survey: use of the National Board of Medical Examiners® basic science subject exams and Customized Assessment Services exams in US medical schools

Authors Wright WS, Baston K

Received 23 March 2018

Accepted for publication 17 May 2018

Published 27 August 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 599—604

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S169076

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder


William S Wright,1 Kirk Baston2

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, SC, USA; 2Department of Pathology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, SC, USA

Purpose: The National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) offers basic science subject exams and exams developed using the Customized Assessment Services (CAS) program. The scope and utilization of these exams by US medical schools has not been reported. Therefore, this survey aimed to measure US medical school usage of NBME® basic science subject exams and exams administered using the CAS program.
Methods: In May 2016 a survey was sent to 139 US medical schools with provisional or full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education®. Schools were asked if they administered NBME® basic science subject exams or exams developed using the NBME® CAS program. Follow-up questions were asked if the school responded “Yes” to administering the exams.
Results: Responses were received from 46–48 schools (33%–35% response rate). Of the schools responding, 7–13 schools (15%–28%) administer an NBME® basic science subject exam and 14 schools (30%) administer an exam developed using the CAS program. Of the schools that administer an NBME® basic science exam, 7–12 (83%–100%) use the exam for summative assessment for a course and 6–11 (77%–100%) use the exam results for curricular revision. Twelve schools (86%) that administer an NBME® exam developed using the CAS program use the exam for summative assessment for a course. Time of administration within the curriculum for NBME® basic science subject exams varied between 1 month prior to >6 months prior to students taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step 1.
Conclusion: According to our data, most US medical schools responding to the survey do not administer NBME® basic science subject exams or exams developed using the NBME® CAS program. Schools that do administer NBME® basic science subject exams use the exams for summative assessment for a course and curricular revision, while exams administered using the CAS program are used predominately for summative assessment for a course.

Keywords: NBME, Customized Assessment Services, subject exams, survey, assessment

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