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Ophthalmology Program Director Perspectives of Scoring Step 1 Pass/Fail
Background Scoring for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 was recently announced to be reported as binary as early as 2022. The general perception among program directors (PDs) in all specialties has largely been negative, but the perspective within ophthalmology remains uncharacterized.
Objective This article characterizes ophthalmology residency PDs' perspectives regarding the impact of pass/fail USMLE Step 1 scoring on the residency application process.
Methods A validated 19-item anonymous survey was electronically distributed to 111 PDs of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited ophthalmology training programs.
Results Fifty-six PDs (50.5%) completed the survey. The median age of respondents was 48 years and the majority were male (71.4%); the average tenure as PD was 7.1 years. Only 6 (10.7%) PDs reported the change of the USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail was a good idea. Most PDs (92.9%) indicated that this will make it more difficult to objectively compare applicants, and many (69.6%) did not agree that the change would improve medical student well-being. The majority (82.1%) indicated that there will be an increased emphasis on Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores, and many (70.4%) felt that medical school reputation will be more important in application decisions.
Conclusion Most ophthalmology PDs who responded to the survey do not support binary Step 1 scoring. Many raised concerns regarding shifted overemphasis on Step 2 CK, uncertain impact on student well-being, and potential to disadvantage certain groups of medical students including international medical graduates. These concerns highlight the need for reform in the ophthalmology application process.
Keywordsmedical education - residency selection - SF match - match process - USMLE - Step 1 - program directors
Received: 23 June 2020
Accepted: 03 September 2020
Article published online:
26 November 2020
© 2020. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
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