Recommendations to Reform USMLE Now Available for Comment

Megan Brooks

June 17, 2019

Preliminary recommendations related to reporting scores on the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) are now available online for review and comment, according to a news release from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB).

These recommendations are aimed at addressing increasing concerns expressed by students and others.

The FSMB and the National Board of Medical Examiners — parent organizations of the USMLE — along with the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, convened the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) back in March to discuss the primary and secondary uses of USMLE scores within undergraduate and graduate medical education.

The report from the conference provides perspectives on score reporting and suggestions with proposed actions to address the "complex issues related to USMLE score reporting and the transition from undergraduate to graduate medical education," the FSMB explains in the release.

InCUS explored possible changes to or recommendations (short and/or long-term) for USMLE scoring.

The recommendations "will focus on numeric score reporting vs. Pass/Fail score reporting, [and] other score reporting options will be considered," according to the FSMB release.

Under consideration, recommendations specific to USMLE:

  • Reduce the adverse impact of the current overemphasis on USMLE performance in residency screening and selection through consideration of changes such as pass/fail scoring

  • Accelerate research on the correlation of USMLE performance to measures of residency performance and clinical practice

  • Minimize racial demographic differences that exist in USMLE performance

Recommendations to the UME-GME transition system:

  • Convene a cross-organizational panel to create solutions for the assessment and transition challenges from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME), targeting an approved proposal, including scope/timelines by end of calendar year 2019

From June 13 through July 26, 2019, individuals and organizations can review the recommendations, hear podcasts about InCUS, sign up for a webinar, and submit comments about the recommendations.

Final recommendations will follow a set timeline, which will be updated as the process moves forward.

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