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Hemmer Paul A. MD; Markert, Ronald J. PhD; Wood, Virginia MD
Academic Medicine: January 1999
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AbstractPurpose.To determine whether in-clerkship tests identify students with insufficient knowledge and whether counseling affects final examination pass rates.Method.The authors reviewed students' mean scores from two internal medicine clerkship tests at the Wright State University School of Medicine from February 1993 to July 1996. To determine the sensitivity and specificity of the tests for identifying students with insufficient knowledge, they compared students in the lowest quartile of clerkship test results with those who scored 290 or less on the end-of-clerkship National Board of Medical Examiners' (NBME) subject examination in medicine. The authors also compared the final examination pass rates of counseled and non-counseled students.Results.Twenty-five students scored 290 or less on the NBME subject examination. Of those, 17 had low mean clerkship test scores (sensitivity of 68%). The specificity of a low mean clerkship test score was 81%. Counseling did not improve final examination pass rates.Conclusion.In-clerkship tests can identify students who are at risk of failing an end-of-clerkship examination. Because counseling may be insufficient to raise final examination pass rates, further study into the appropriate clerkship intervention for low-achievement students is needed.Acad. Med. 1999;74:73–75.

Purpose.

To determine whether in-clerkship tests identify students with insufficient knowledge and whether counseling affects final examination pass rates.

Method.

The authors reviewed students' mean scores from two internal medicine clerkship tests at the Wright State University School of Medicine from February 1993 to July 1996. To determine the sensitivity and specificity of the tests for identifying students with insufficient knowledge, they compared students in the lowest quartile of clerkship test results with those who scored 290 or less on the end-of-clerkship National Board of Medical Examiners' (NBME) subject examination in medicine. The authors also compared the final examination pass rates of counseled and non-counseled students.

Results.

Twenty-five students scored 290 or less on the NBME subject examination. Of those, 17 had low mean clerkship test scores (sensitivity of 68%). The specificity of a low mean clerkship test score was 81%. Counseling did not improve final examination pass rates.

Conclusion.

In-clerkship tests can identify students who are at risk of failing an end-of-clerkship examination. Because counseling may be insufficient to raise final examination pass rates, further study into the appropriate clerkship intervention for low-achievement students is needed.

Acad. Med. 1999;74:73–75.

Dr. Hemmer,at the time of this study, was assistant professor of medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM), Dayton, Ohio; he is currently assistant professor of medicine, The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.Dr. Markertis professor of medicine, WSUSOM. Dr. Wood, at the time of the study, was internal medicine clerkship director, WSUSOM; she is currently internal medicine residency program director, Miami Valley Hospital/WSUSOM, and associate professor of medicine, WSUSOM.

The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Department of Defense, the United States Air Force, or other federal agencies.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Hemmer, USUHS-EDP, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814; e-mail: <phemmer@usuhs.mil>.

Acad. Med. 1999;74:73–75.

© 1999 by the Association of American Medical Colleges