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In 2010, the New York College of Podiatric Medicine general anatomy course was redesigned to emphasize clinical anatomy. Over a 2-year period, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)–style items were used in lecture assessments with two cohorts of students (N =200). Items were single-best-answer and extended-matching formats. Psychometric properties of items and assessments were evaluated, and anonymous student post-course surveys were administered.
Mean grades for each assessment were recorded over time and compared between cohorts using analysis of variance. Correlational analyses were used to investigate the relationship between final course grades and lecture examinations. Post-course survey response rates for the cohorts were 71 of 97 (73%) and 81 of 103 (79%).
The USMLE-style items had strong psychometric properties. Point biserial correlations were 0.20 and greater, and the range of students answering the items correctly was 25% to 75%. Examinations were highly reliable, with Kuder-Richardson 20 coefficients of 0.71 to 0.76. Students (>80%) reported that single-best-answer items were easier than extended-matching items. Students (>76%) believed that the items on the quizzes/examinations were similar to those found on USMLE Step 1. Most students (>84%) believed that they would do well on the anatomy section of their boards (American Podiatric Medical Licensing Examination [APMLE] Part I).
Students valued USMLE-style items. These data, coupled with the psychometric data, suggest that USMLE-style items can be successfully incorporated into a basic science course in podiatric medical education. Outcomes from students who recently took the APMLE Part I suggest that incorporation of USMLE-style items into the general anatomy course was a successful measure and prepared them well. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(6): 517–528, 2012)