Helen H. Baker, Victoria L. Shuman, Lance C. Ridpath, Lorenzo L. Pence, Robert M. Fisk, Craig S. Boisvert. Relationship of Admissions Variables and College of Osteopathic Medicine Variables to Performance on COMLEX-USA Level 3. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2015;115(2):100–109. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2015.021.
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Context: New accreditation standards require that all US colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) publically report the first-time pass rates of graduates on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 3. Little is known about the extent to which admissions variables or COM performance measures relate to Level 3 performance.
Objective: To examine the relationship of admissions variables and COM performance to scores on Level 3 and to assess whether a relationship existed between Level 3 scores and sex, curriculum track, year of graduation, and residency specialty in the first postgraduate year.
Methods: Data were analyzed from 4 graduating classes (2008-2011) of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. Relationships were examined between first-attempt scores on COMLEX-USA Level 3 and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores; undergraduate grade point averages (GPAs); GPAs in COM year 1, year 2, and clinical rotation years (years 3 and 4); and first-attempt scores on COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation, and Level 2-Performance Evaluation.
Results: Of the 556 graduates during this 4-year period, COMLEX-USA Level 3 scores were available for 552 graduates (99.3%). No statistically significant differences were found in Level 3 scores based on sex, curriculum track, graduating class, or residency specialty. The strongest relationship between Level 3 scores and any admissions variable was with total MCAT score, which accounted for 4.2% of the variation in Level 3 scores. The strongest relationship between Level 3 scores and COM year performance measures was with year 2 GPA, which accounted for 35.4% of the variation in Level 3 scores. Level 1 scores accounted for 38.5% of the variation in Level 3 scores, and Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation scores accounted for the greatest percentage of variation (45.7%). The correlation of Level 3 scores with passing the Level 2-Performance Evaluation on the first attempt was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: A weak relationship was found between admissions variables and performance on COMLEX-USA Level 3, suggesting that graduates with lower MCAT scores and undergraduate GPAs may have overcome their early disadvantage. Strong relationships were found between Level 3 scores and year 2 GPAs, as well as scores on COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation.
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