Student Performances on Step 1 and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination Following Implementation of a Problem-based Learning Curriculum


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Abstract

PURPOSETo examine students' performances on Step 1 and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) following the implementation of a problem-based learning curriculum.METHODPerformances on Step 1 of the USMLE for four classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine that completed a new problem-based learning curriculum (1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000) were compared with those of the last two classes to learn in the traditional curriculum (1995 and 1996). Performances on Step 2 of the USMLE for the classes of 1997, 1998, and 1999 were also compared with those of the classes of 1995 and 1996. The authors analyzed matriculation data (GPAs and MCAT scores) for all six classes. They compared all data with those of U.S. and Canadian first-time USMLE takers.RESULTSThe mean scores were higher on USMLE Step 1 for classes in the problem-based learning curriculum than for classes in the traditional curriculum. The mean scores for Step 2 were above the national mean for classes in the revised curriculum and below the national mean for classes in the traditional curriculum. The admission profiles of these classes were essentially the same before and after the change in curriculum.CONCLUSIONSMajor PBL revisions of the curriculum did not compromise the performances of medical students on the licensing examinations; in fact, they may have contributed to higher scores.

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