Assessment of Medical Knowledge is Stable Over a Continuum from Early Medical Training to Practice
Correlation of cognitive knowledge acquisition throughout the continuum of medical education and practice has been a subject of great interest to medical educators and the specialty board community. Research done by the American Board of Family Medicine showed that formal knowledge assessment examinations administered throughout medical training correlated with graduates’ performance on the ABFM Initial Certification Examination performance. When those assessments completed in closer proximity to the initial certification examination were included with earlier assessments, only the later assessments remained significant.
Throughout the continuum of medical education, trainees’ knowledge and skills are tested multiple times; beginning with the MCAT prior to medical school, to the three steps of the US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) taken during medical school and residency. Throughout the three years of residency training, each resident takes an annual In-Training Examination (ITE) to monitor their progress through each postgraduate year. In the current study, the authors linked together a wealth of educational assessments from undergraduate GPA, MCAT scores, USMLE scores, ITE scores, and board examination scores for 15,902 allopathic family medicine graduates from 2008 to 2012. In a series of regression analyses, they found that each assessment was correlated with ABFM certification examination performance but, as more recent assessments were added to the models, earlier assessments were no longer significant. This suggests the deficits in earlier performance can be overcome and that knowledge gained and applied in residency training is a stronger predictor of certification examination performance.
The full article, Associations Between Medical Education Assessments and American Board of Family Medicine Certification Examination Score and Failure to Obtain Certification, can be found here.