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Benchmarking in Australia using the International Foundations of Medicine Clinical Science Examination

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Demonstration of consistent standards in medical education is an important response to the increasing mobility of the workforce and the propagation of new medical schools around the world.1,2 Five Australian medical schools (at the universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Western Australia) collaborated to perform a comparison across the subdisciplines included on the 2014 International Foundations of Medicine Clinical Science Examination (IFOM CSE).3

In 2014, a total of 1425 (of 1448) students in the final year of their primary medical degree at the participating Australian institutions took the examination. All schools used this examination as a formative assessment, although participation was compulsory at three schools. The lowest participation rate was 93% (155/167). The tests were delivered at different times of the academic year, with various administration conditions, including mode of delivery (electronic and paper-based).

The IFOM CSE consists of 160 multiple-choice questions created from items drawn from the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is produced by the US National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Results were collated into 18 profile scores, and the overall mean score at the five schools ranged from 502 to 549 (SD, 54–76). Eight students were…