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September 7, 1994

Examining the Examinations for Licensure and Certification in Medicine

JAMA. 1994;272(9):713-714. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520090077023

In this issue of The Journal, Dawson and colleagues1 report results of a study of the performance of men and women of various racial and ethnic backgrounds on the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Part I examination. Differences among all groups were largely explained by education and performance before medical school. However, these factors did not account fully for the NBME Part I performance of women and Asian/Pacific Islander men. If confirmed by further research, the findings imply that the examination either unintentionally assessed aspects of performance unrelated to biomedical science or women and Asian/Pacific Islander men were deficient in the content tested.

See also p 674.

Dawson et al are appropriately cautious in interpreting their results. Despite attempts to control for differences in standardized test performance by using scores on the Medical College Admission Test as well as undergraduate major, science and nonscience hours, grade point averages,

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