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March 1, 1995

Ethnicity, Sex, and the NBME Part I Examination-Reply

JAMA. 1995;273(9):702. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520330032031

In Reply.  —I appreciate Dr Bestler's letter and, in response, I would like to make a distinction between the two types of group differences Dawson and colleagues1 found in their study of the performance of men and women of various ethnic backgrounds on the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Part I examination. First, among all the groups, the investigators found differences that were largely explained by education and performance prior to medical school. Since they existed before the NBME examination was taken, these differences are not the "fault" of the examination and, for unsuccessful candidates, they underscore the need for additional study or education.On the other hand, Dawson et al also found that education and performance prior to medical school did not account fully for the NBME Part I performance of women and Asian men. Under such circumstances, a range of possible explanations should be considered, one

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