PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 12, 2020) – Today, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®), co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), announced upcoming policy changes to the USMLE program.
- Changing Step 1 score reporting from a three-digit numeric score to reporting only pass/fail;
- Reducing the allowable number of exam attempts on each Step or Step Component from six to four; and
- Requiring all examinees to successfully pass Step 1 as a prerequisite for taking Step 2 Clinical Skills.
These new policies will continue to enable the USMLE program to provide high-quality assessments for the primary user of exam results (state medical boards) while also addressing other considerations, such as exam security and unintended consequences of secondary score uses. The secondary uses of Step 1 scores for residency screening, in particular, have been the focus of extensive discussion over the past year at the FSMB and NBME, within the USMLE program, and with multiple stakeholders within the broader medical education and regulatory communities.
“These new policies strengthen the integrity of the USMLE and address concerns about Step 1 scores impacting student well-being and medical education,” said Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. “Although the primary purpose of the exam is to assess the knowledge and skills essential to safe patient care, it is important that we improve the transition from undergraduate to graduate medical education.”
“The USMLE program governance carefully considered input from multiple sources in coming to these decisions. Recognizing the complexity of the environment and the desire for improvement, continuation of the status quo was not the best way forward,” reported Peter Katsufrakis, MD, MBA, President and CEO of NBME. “Both program governance and staff believe these changes represent improvements to the USMLE program and create the environment for improved student experiences in their education and their transition to residency."
These policy changes are currently planned to be phased in over the next 11-24 months. For specific information on each policy, consult the link to the detailed statements accompanying each policy change. A podcast supplementing the information contained in this announcement is also available here.
About United States Medical Licensing Examination ® (USMLE®)
USMLE is a three step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
USMLE provides licensing authorities meaningful information from assessments of physician competencies – including medical knowledge, communication and other clinical skills - that are important to the provision of safe and effective patient care. The program follows professional testing standards to provide fairness and equity to examinees, while providing important information to medical regulation and medical education.
The USMLE program engages medical educators and their institutions, licensing authority members, and practicing clinicians in the design, development and continuous improvement of these assessments. To learn more about USMLE, visit www.usmle.org. You can also follow USMLE on Twitter (@theUSMLE).
About the Federation of State Medical Boards
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing all 71 medical boards within the United States and its territories that license and discipline allopathic and osteopathic physicians and, in some jurisdictions, other health care professionals. Founded in 1912, the FSMB serves as the voice for state medical boards, supporting them through education, assessment, research and advocacy while providing services and initiatives that promote patient safety, quality health care and regulatory best practices. To learn more about FSMB, visit www.fsmb.org and follow FSMB on Twitter (@theFSMB).
About the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®)
The NBME is an independent, mission-driven organization that provides high-quality assessments for the health professions. We serve the health of the public through state-of-the-art assessment of health professionals, and we are committed to research and development in evaluation and measurement.
The NBME delivers valid information about health care knowledge and skills to score recipients to support important inferences and decisions.
With over 100 years of expertise in assessment for medical licensing, NBME continues its pursuit of new and reliable approaches to advance the standard of care. Our global offerings encompass the spectrum of health professionals along the continuum of education, training, certification, and practice. To learn more about NBME, visit www.nbme.org. You can also follow NBME on Twitter (@NBMEnow).http://www.fsmb.org/advocacy/news-releases/usmle-program-announces-upcoming-policy-changes/