Setting the Pass/Fail Standard
One of the most important components of a high-quality and defensible examination program is a fair and reasonable approach to identifying a "cut" score – the score at or above which a candidate is deemed to have passed an examination.
For the NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examinations, a "passing score" means the examinee has demonstrated minimal level competency by scoring at or above the level judged to be required for safe and effective practice of osteopathic medicine at the supervised level (e.g., COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE, Level 2-PE) or for the unsupervised, independent practice of osteopathic medicine (e.g., COMLEX-USA Level 3).
Every three to four years, the NBOME reviews the standards for minimum competency required to pass COMLEX-USA examinations. This process, typically referred to as "standard setting," may result in a change in the "cut score" (or scores) needed to pass an examination.
The current schedule for review of the pass/fail standard is as follows:
- COMLEX-USA Level 1: Standard will be revisited in early 2014, and will take effect May 2014.
- COMLEX-USA Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation: Standard will be revisited in early 2013 and take effect June 2013.
- COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation: Standard will be revisited in May 2012 and will take effect July 2012.
- COMLEX-USA Level 3: Standard will be revisited in late 2013 and will take effect March 2014.
Periodic review and resetting of the pass/fail standards for COMLEX-USA examinations ensures the standards of osteopathic medical licensure assessment reflect current medical education and medical practice. The process is consistent with the NBOME’s mission of protecting the public by assessing competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health professionals.