Validity Evidence for Medical School OSCEs: Associations With USMLE®Step Assessments

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Teaching and Learning in Medicine








objective structured clinical examination (OSCE); United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) step assessment; validity


© 2014, Copyright © 2014, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Background: Recently, there has been a surge in the use of objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) at medical schools around the world, and with this growth has come the concomitant need to validate such assessments. Purposes: The current study examined the associations between student performance on several school-level clinical skills and knowledge assessments, including two OSCEs, the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME) Subject Examinations, and the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) and Step 3 assessments. Methods: The sample consisted of 806 medical students from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. We conducted Pearson correlation analysis as well as stepwise multiple linear regression modeling to examine the strength of associations between students’ performance on 2nd- and 3rd-year OSCEs and their two Step 2 CS component scores and Step 3 scores. Results: Positive associations were found between the OSCE variables and the USMLE scores; in particular, student performance on both the 2nd- and 3rd-year OSCEs was more strongly associated with the two Step 2 CS component scores than with Step 3 scores. Conclusions: These findings, although preliminary, provide some predictive validity evidence for the use of OSCEs in determining readiness of medical students for clinical practice and licensure.

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