Changes to USMLE procedures for reporting scores - April 1, 2013
Posted: December 26, 2012
Updated: March 13, 2013
As previously reported, the USMLE program has begun the process of eliminating the reporting of results on the 2-digit score scale to parties other than the examinee and any state licensing authority to which the examinee sends results. This process began on July 1, 2011 with elimination of 2-digit scores from USMLE transcripts reported through ERAS.
The USMLE program will extend this change in reporting to include ALL score recipients (e.g., examinees, state medical boards). This means that scores on the 2-digit scale will no longer be calculated or reported. We expect to eliminate the 2-digit score effective April 1, 2013. This change pertains to the Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 examinations only; Step 2 CS will continue to be reported as pass or fail.
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 for each Step 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 eliminate confusion surrounding the 2-digit scale, the USMLE Composite Committee, the governing body of the USMLE program, directed staff to discontinue its reporting.
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.