The Orthopaedic In-Training Examination (OITE) assesses orthopaedic resident knowledge over 275 multiple-choice questions.Since the first publication examining the contents of the pathology section was published over ten years ago, the pathology content has been renamed (oncology) and revamped. As the overall extent of these alterations is currently unknown, the efficacy of current orthopaedic oncology educational practices for optimal OITE performance should be questioned. To determine how the oncology (pathology) material has changed, we compared the following characteristics from previous examinations (2002 to 2006) to current examinations (2012 to 2016): (1) What are the average number of oncology questions being asked? (2) What are the specific imaging modalities presented for examinee interpretation? (3) Which pathologic diagnoses are commonly examined? (4) What is the pattern of taxonomic question classifications?
The 2012 to 2016 OITE study guides were reviewed, and each oncology question was categorized into one of the following: benign or malignant, imaging modality grouping, common pathologic diagnosis, question type, and taxonomic classification. The aforementioned information was extrapolated from the previous pathology publication published in 2010 to create the previous examination cohort (2002 to 2006). The current examination characteristics were then compared with those of the previous examinations.
The current number of oncology OITE questions significantly decreased from previous years (27.2 versus 21.2; P
= 0.015). Current examinations displayed a significant increase in testing the interpretation of diagnostic imaging modalities compared with previous examinations (78.3% versus 55.8%; P
< 0.001). The current examinations examined a wide spectrum of pathologic diagnoses, including previously untested pathologies. The number of taxonomy 1 questions on current examinations significantly decreased (36.8% versus 24.5%; P
= 0.032), whereas the number of taxonomy 3 questions significantly increased from previous examinations (48.1% versus 32.4%; P
This study demonstrated that the nature of the orthopaedic oncology (pathology) section has changed over the past 10 years. Although the overall number of pathology-related questions decreased, the difficulty level of these questions increased, demanding a higher level of knowledge and critical thinking. A formal orthopaedic oncology rotation may be the best method to educate and improve OITE oncology performance.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic study, level III