Potential Impact of Pass/Fail Scores on USMLE Step 1: Predictors of Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Training.

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J Med Educ Curric Dev


AIM: The study aims to determine resident applicant metrics most predictive of academic and clinical performance as measured by the Council of Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) examination scores and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) clinical performance (Milestones) in the aftermath of United States Medical Licensing Examination Scores (USMLE) Step 1 becoming a pass/fail examination.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, electronic and paper documents for Wayne State University Obstetrics and Gynecology residents matriculated over a 5-year period ending July 2018 were collected. USMLE scores, clerkship grade, and wording on the letters of recommendation as well as Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) were extracted from the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and scored numerically. Semiannual Milestone evaluations and yearly CREOG scores were used as a marker of resident performance. Statistical analysis on residents (n = 75) was performed using R and SPSS and significance was set at

RESULTS: Mean USMLE score correlated with CREOG performance and, of all 3 Steps, Step 1 had the tightest association. MSPE and class percentile also correlated with CREOGs. Clerkship grade and recommendation letters had no correlation with resident performance. Of all metrics provided by ERAS, none taken alone, were as useful as Step 1 scores at predicting performance in residency. Regression modeling demonstrated that the combination of Step 2 scores with MSPE wording restored the predictive ability lost by Step 1.

CONCLUSIONS: The change of USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail may alter resident selection strategies. Other objective markers are needed in order to evaluate an applicant's future performance in residency.



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