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USMLE pass rates broken down by school?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by cedricw, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. cedricw

    cedricw Banned Banned

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    Jun 13, 2000
    I don't recall if I saw any source that listed pass rates for the board exams for each medical school. It looks like the students at my school did extremely poorly on Step 1 this year and it worries me. Can anyone tell me if there is a source somewhere?
     
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  3. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    There is no source. Some med schools will volunteer information about their pass rates, but in the most recent Step 1 period, many, many schools experienced a near-doubling of their past years' failure rates.
     
  4. cedricw

    cedricw Banned Banned

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    Jun 13, 2000
    Why is that? I heard something about the pass rate being increased, but did that just go into effect on this last testing cycle?
     
  5. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 25, 2001
    Boston
    It's not the pass *rate* that they increased this year -- it's the passing *score*. The score required to pass Step 1 was increased this year from 179 to 181. I can't imagine that a small increase like that would cause so many more people to fail...
     
  6. tonem

    tonem Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Sep 13, 1999
    USA
    Turtleboard...I'm just curious, where did you get your information that many schools doubled their fail rate?
     
  7. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Actually, here at UC, we had a banner year. Only one person failed out of about 160. I like those odds!
     
  8. The statistic of doubling fail rates, is bogus...

    The USMLE is based on a bell curve, with the mean around 210, and the SD about 20......if you do the math, you will see that about the same percentage of students fail every year/
     
  9. am

    am Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Aug 4, 2001
    Dont pay too much attention to school pass rates. Whether you pass the boards depends mostly on your effort. If you go to any US school you will most likely pass as 95% of US students pass on their first attempt.
     
  10. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    New York, New York
    Which would be true so long as the same percentage of students are to fail every year. But if you were to move the failure mark a little over to the right, as they did with the increase in passing from 179 to 182 this year, the percent of students failing would be mathematically inevitable (everything else being equal from previous years' administrations). The rise in the passing score, however, is not supposed to account for the near-doubling at SOME institutions.
     
  11. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 1, 2001
    Hi Tim. Then what is the cause?

    Is it PBL? Perhaps the watering down of the curricula of many schools with PBL has adversely affected students mastering the knowledge they should have acquired to pass the boards. :confused:
     
  12. jdub

    jdub Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Albany, NY
    hello,

    pbl, from what i here, people in these programs tend to slightly better than other programs that are more didactic.

    anyhow, when in an interview, is it okay to ask about uslme pass rates? it seems that schools are a little defensive with these numbers, most schools don't post them.

    also, what is the protocal for somebody that does not pass?

    thanks :D
     
  13. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    There are supposedly many theories on why the numbers have jumped this year, but no one can say definitively. PBL has been argued in the past to be the cause of increased failures in some schools, so it may be the underlying cause now.

    The protocol for what happens to a student after failing the boards varies by school, but it almost always means the student will have to retake the boards within the next year.
     
  14. tonem

    tonem Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Sep 13, 1999
    USA
    I'd still like to know where you're getting your information about the fail rate doubling (just curious thats all). It was my understanding that they raised the passing score because more students were passing and scores were higher than they have been in the past. Finally, I don't think PBL has much to do with the fail rate. We've had PBLs for at least 5-6 years and our pass rate is approx. 99.9999% over the last six years (yes, I know that that is anectodal evidence). Oh, one more thing...I don't think there is anything wrong with asking about USMLE passing rate at your interview. It can show that you are interested enough to probe deeper than the average candidate...
     
  15. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    May 4, 2000
    Minneapolis, MN
    Another anecdote: our school does a fair bit of PBL, and this year we've only had one or 2 failures (compare to 7 last year). Considering the sheer number of folks who take the exam, statistically, moving the pass score even a few points can make or break a decent chunk of folks. Likely, if we include this year with many, many others, it won't really be significantly different at all.
     
  16. Future GI Guy

    Future GI Guy Hoo Hoo.... 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 25, 2001
    My School is 100% PBL in the first two years, and we've had 100% pass rate on Step I the last 2 years. It's hardly a "watered-down" curriculum.

    What's more, our means are always above the national means.

    Look elsewhere for Step I problems. I would suggest those schools that maintain the traditional didactic approach to teaching. They may be having problems keeping up with the more progressive schools.
     
  17. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 25, 2001
    Boston
    Actually, students at PBL schools have a lower average step 1 score than students at schools with a traditional curriculum, then it's reversed for step 2 -- students at PBL schools do better in step 2. Granted, these are only averages, and there are lots of PBL schools out there where students do very well on step 1.

    Also, the number of students who fail at any one school is so few, that you have to expect that there will be huge variation each year in how many students at that school fail. You can double the number of people failing at a school by going from 4 to 8, but that's hardly significant, and it will likely be made up at another school that has a fewer number of its students failing that year. It's all statistics. :)
     
  18. impassivemd

    impassivemd Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 26, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Well said.
     
  19. Future GI Guy

    Future GI Guy Hoo Hoo.... 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 25, 2001
    AJM.

    Where do you get your information about PBL schools doing worse than traditional schools on Step I?

    I'd like to know the source, not because I question your post, but simply because I think it would be interesting to read for myself.
     
  20. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 25, 2001
    Boston
    I'm trying to remember the exact source that this information came from, but right now I can't think of it. I'm involved in the curricular reform process at my school, and this information, along with other similar types of tidbits are often brought up. Apparently there has been a study published a while back looking at the effects/benefits/drawbacks of PBL, and it was in that study.

    I'll ask around and see if I can find it for you.
     

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