Are commonly used premedical school or medical school measures associated with board certification?

Mil Med. 2015 Apr;180(4 Suppl):18-23. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00569.


Purpose: To determine if there is an association between several commonly obtained premedical school and medical school measures and board certification performance. We specifically included measures from our institution for which we have predictive validity evidence into the internship year. We hypothesized that board certification would be most likely to be associated with clinical measures of performance during medical school, and with scores on standardized tests, whether before or during medical school.

Methods: Achieving board certification in an American Board of Medical Specialties specialty was used as our outcome measure for a 7-year cohort of graduates (1995-2002). Age at matriculation, Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score, undergraduate college grade point average (GPA), undergraduate college science GPA, Uniformed Services University (USU) cumulative GPA, USU preclerkship GPA, USU clerkship year GPA, departmental competency committee evaluation, Internal Medicine (IM) clerkship clinical performance rating (points), IM total clerkship points, history of Student Promotion Committee review, and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 score and USMLE Step 2 clinical knowledge score were associated with this outcome.

Results: Ninety-three of 1,155 graduates were not certified, resulting in an average rate of board certification of 91.9% for the study cohort. Significant small correlations were found between board certification and IM clerkship points (r = 0.117), IM clerkship grade (r = 0.108), clerkship year GPA (r = 0.078), undergraduate college science GPA (r = 0.072), preclerkship GPA and medical school GPA (r = 0.068 for both), USMLE Step 1 (r = 0.066), undergraduate college total GPA (r = 0.062), and age at matriculation (r = -0.061). In comparing the two groups (board certified and not board certified cohorts), significant differences were seen for all included variables with the exception of MCAT and USMLE Step 2 clinical knowledge scores. All the variables put together could explain 4.1% of the variance of board certification by logistic regression.

Conclusions: This investigation provides some additional validity evidence that measures collected for purposes of student evaluation before and during medical school are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adult
  • Clinical Clerkship / statistics & numerical data
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Educational Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Specialty Boards
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States