[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 5, 1991

The Boards: Pass/Fail or a Number?

Author Affiliations

Williamsburg, Iowa

Williamsburg, Iowa

JAMA. 1991;265(21):2809. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460210055021

To the Editor.—  I was very interested in Mr Korzeniowski's letter in the February 27, 1991, issue of JAMA.1 His argument is that the selection process (for students or for promotion) has no end point. He extrapolates the selection process in primary, secondary, and undergraduate schools to medical school, residency, and the physician's lifetime in practice.Moral development and scholastic excellence are roughly equivalent and parallel. A point of diminishing returns is reached. There is a long-held belief that the acquisition of the MD degree is an end point, that all who hold this degree are peers, equals, fellows, or whatever. Now the conventional wisdom is to push this concept back 4 years to entry into medical school.It is generally believed that all persons in the top 5% of the population (intellectually) can cope with the medical school curriculum and function adequately as physicians. What does it matter