Changes to USMLE procedures for reporting scores
Posted: May 04, 2011
Starting July 1, 2011, USMLE transcripts reported through the ERAS reporting system will no longer include score results on the 2-digit score scale. USMLE results will continue to be reported on the 3-digit scale. This affects the Step 1, 2 CK, and 3 examinations only; Step 2 CS will continue to be reported as pass or fail. These changes do not alter the score required to pass or the difficulty of any of the USMLE Step examinations.
Since its beginning in the 1990s, the USMLE program has reported two numeric scores for the Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 examinations, one on a 3-digit scale and one on a 2-digit scale. The 3-digit score scale is considered the primary reporting scale; it is developed in a manner that allows reasonable comparisons across time. The 2-digit scale is intended to meet statutory requirements of some state medical boards that rely on a score scale that has 75 as the minimum passing score. The process used to convert 3-digit scores to 2-digit scores is designed in such a way that the 3-digit minimum passing score in effect when the examinee tests is associated with a 2-digit score of 75.
The USMLE program requires its governing committees to reevaluate the minimum passing score every three to four years. This process has, at times, resulted in changes in the minimum passing score, expressed on the 3-digit scale, and an accompanying change in the score conversion process, to ensure that a 2-digit score of 75 is associated with the new minimum passing requirement. A by-product of the adjustment of the score conversion system over time has been a shift in the relationship between the two score scales. This shift has no impact for USMLE score users who use the 3-digit scoring scale or for those using the 2-digit scale with a primary interest in whether the examinee has a passing 2-digit score of at least 75. However, it may create challenges in interpretation for score users who are focusing on 2-digit scores, other than 75, and are doing so for purposes of comparing USMLE scores that span several years.
To simplify matters and make interpretation of USMLE information more convenient for score users, the USMLE Composite Committee has asked staff to report 2-digit scores only to those score users for whom the scale is intended, i.e., the state medical boards. The Committee also asked that examinees continue to receive scores on both scales so that they are fully informed about the information that will be reported when they ask that results be sent to a state medical board. When examinees request that their results be sent to other score users, only the 3-digit score will be reported. Current plans call for these changes to begin with the elimination of the 2-digit score from USMLE transcripts reported through the ERAS reporting system starting July 1, 2011. Other systems and procedures for reporting results will be similarly modified as soon as possible after the July 1, 2011 date.
USMLE takes action against individuals found to have engaged in irregular behavior
Posted: February 27, 2014
The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR) meets periodically throughout each year to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees.
At its recent meetings, the CIR heard multiple cases involving the following:
- falsified information, including the creation of falsified score reports
- soliciting and/or seeking to obtain unauthorized access to examination materials
- communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with another examinee
- applying and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
- making notes of any kind on anything other than materials provided
- failure to follow test center instructions, including writing past the ‘end patient note’ announcement
Actions taken by the CIR at its recent meetings included annotating the individual’s USMLE record with a finding of irregular behavior, barring access to USMLE for periods ranging from 0-3 years, and reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards. State medical boards routinely query this data bank as part of their licensing processes.
As evidenced by the sanctions listed above, a finding of irregular behavior carries significant potential impact. USMLE applicants and examinees are reminded to read the USMLE Bulletin of Information carefully, follow the rules of conduct during testing, and refrain from any pre- or post-examination conduct that might constitute irregular behavior. Specific examples of conduct deemed to be irregular behavior can be found in the Bulletin.
The USMLE is committed to maintaining the integrity of its examination so that state medical boards may continue to rely upon it as an integral part of their decision-making process for licensure. Applicants and examinees are advised to observe all USMLE policies and procedures to avoid the potentially significant implications arising from a finding of irregular behavior.
USMLE encourages you to provide information about cheating and other activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of USMLE. Please use our contact form to report such information.
Updated Step 2 Clinical Skills information available
Posted: January 24, 2014
An updated Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Content Description and General Information booklet is available.
The Description of the Examination and Scoring the Step 2 CS Examination sections include expanded language on expectations for interacting with standardized patients, as well as additional information on scoring. Appendix B includes new sample patient notes, which have additional information to help examinees understand how the notes are scored.
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