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March 1991

Skepticism About Loss of Skepticism!

Author Affiliations

Winston-Salem, NC

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(3):612. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400030140028

To the Editor.—  Alpert and Coles1 started their December editorial, "Loss of Skepticism in Medical Education," with the "... pathology Professor's favorite words—How do you know that?" This pathology professor would like to ask them the same thing regarding their claim that the "medical school curriculum is hostage to the national board examination." Their polemic provides neither evidence of that claim nor evidence that they know what the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is up to. They also claim, without citing evidence, that medical students must know much more today than in the past. They think this imagined need to know more makes examinations a less relevant means of assessing ability because the need to memorize facts for the NBME adversely affects the development of critical thinking.In the matter of content to be learned, it is easy to forget that as new material is added to the curriculum

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