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.
Change in minimum passing requirements for Step 1
Posted: December 12, 2013
This announcement describes a change in the Step 1 examination minimum passing score that will affect examinees testing on or after January 1, 2014.
As stated in the USMLE Bulletin of Information and as explained in a previous posting to the USMLE website, the minimum passing score for each USMLE Step examination is reviewed periodically and may be adjusted at any time.
At its December 2013 meeting, the Step 1 Committee conducted a review of the USMLE Step 1 examination minimum passing score. During the meeting, the Committee considered information from multiple sources, including:
- Recommendations from independent groups of physicians who participated in content-based standard-setting activities in 2013;
- Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current passing requirements for the Step 1 examination;
- Data on trends in examinee performance;
- Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.
As a result of its review, the Step 1 Committee decided to raise the recommended Step 1 minimum passing score from 188 to 192.
This change will be applied to Step 1 examinees testing on or after January 1, 2014.