Li F, Gimpel JR, Arenson E, Song H, Bates BP, Ludwin F. Relationship Between COMLEX-USA Scores and Performance on the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine Part I Certifying Examination. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2014;114(4):260–266. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.051.
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Context: Few studies have investigated how well scores from the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) series predict resident outcomes, such as performance on board certification examinations.
Objectives: To determine how well COMLEX-USA predicts performance on the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM) Part I certification examination.
Methods: The target study population was first-time examinees who took AOBEM Part I in 2011 and 2012 with matched performances on COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE), and Level 3. Pearson correlations were computed between AOBEM Part I first-attempt scores and COMLEX-USA performances to measure the association between these examinations. Stepwise linear regression analysis was conducted to predict AOBEM Part I scores by the 3 COMLEX-USA scores. An independent t test was conducted to compare mean COMLEX-USA performances between candidates who passed and who failed AOBEM Part I, and a stepwise logistic regression analysis was used to predict the log-odds of passing AOBEM Part I on the basis of COMLEX-USA scores.
Results: Scores from AOBEM Part I had the highest correlation with COMLEX-USA Level 3 scores (.57) and slightly lower correlation with COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores (.53). The lowest correlation was between AOBEM Part I and COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores (.47). According to the stepwise regression model, COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE scores, which residency programs often use as selection criteria, together explained 30% of variance in AOBEM Part I scores. Adding Level 3 scores explained 37% of variance. The independent t test indicated that the 397 examinees passing AOBEM Part I performed significantly better than the 54 examinees failing AOBEM Part I in all 3 COMLEX-USA levels (P<.001 for all 3 levels). The logistic regression model showed that COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 3 scores predicted the log-odds of passing AOBEM Part I (P=.03 and P<.001, respectively).
Conclusion: The present study empirically supported the predictive and discriminant validities of the COMLEX-USA series in relation to the AOBEM Part I certification examination. Although residency programs may use COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE scores as partial criteria in selecting residents, Level 3 scores, though typically not available at the time of application, are actually the most statistically related to performances on AOBEM Part I.
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