Assessment

New End of Curriculum Exam to Come Online in January 2020

By Emily Yunker, MPA, PMPMay 30, 2018

Image: Shutterstock

PA programs will have an exciting new student assessment tool beginning in January 2020, when the long-awaited PAEA End of Curriculum exam is launched.

The End of Curriculum™ exam, designed to be administered in the last four months of the program, will provide an objective, standardized evaluation of a student’s medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation. The availability of this exam should free up significant faculty time, providing a nationally developed tool that can help programs demonstrate students’ medical knowledge as a portion of the summative evaluation. The first details, including the exam blueprint and content area list, are available on the new PAEA End of Curriculum exam webpage.

“The End of Curriculum exam should meet a crucial need for our member programs, as it provides an additional measure of assessment that validates a common body of knowledge for entry into practice,” said PAEA President Lisa Alexander, EdD, MPD, PA-C.

The new exam will be the latest piece of the PAEA Assessment suite of exams. The two exams currently available are (1) the PACKRAT™ exam — an objective, comprehensive self-assessment tool for student and curricular evaluation, and (2) the End of Rotation™ exams — a set of objective, standardized evaluations intended to serve as one measure of the medical knowledge students gain during specific supervised clinical practice experiences.

As with the other PAEA exams, programs administering the End of Curriculum exam will receive a report comparing their students’ results with those of all exam takers around the country. A key point that sets this exam apart from the other PAEA exams is that student scores will be reported on a categorical scale that defines their proficiency in medical knowledge. More detail on this reporting will be available in the coming year.

“The addition of the End of Curriculum exam to the existing PAEA exam suite gives programs multiple levels of medical knowledge assessment, from self-assessment with PACKRAT to comprehensive end of program assessment with the End of Curriculum exam,” said PAEA Assessment Editor in Chief Kim Cavanagh. “This provides both students and programs critical information about preparedness, as well as cohort-level information related to medical knowledge and national comparative data.”

PAEA has also reviewed the pricing structure of the exams and will be making the full suite of exams available for a single, fixed price of $420 per student, which will include two PACKRAT exams, 10 End of Rotation exams, and one End of Curriculum exam. With this package pricing, we hope to help programs get maximum benefit from all three PAEA exams. Programs may also elect to continue to buy exams individually as they have in the past, as well as supplement the package should additional retesting be needed. Check the new PAEA Assessment website for pricing and other details.

Other notable details of the new exam include:

  • A two-dimensional exam blueprint — organized by both task and content area
  • Organization of the blueprint under four of PAEA’s proposed entrustable professional activities
  • Targeting of higher level Bloom’s Taxonomy to ensure that examinees have demonstrated a thorough mastery of the content
  • Questions written for the broad diversity of the patients — by race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, cultural identity, religion, and functional diversity — that represent the patients whom graduates will be treating, no matter the setting they choose to practice in
  • Questions developed for this exam reflect a variety of settings in which PAs practice, including inpatient, emergency department, perioperative, and outpatient settings

PAEA Assessment is committed to delivering high quality, secure, and psychometrically sound national assessments. By participating in the development of PAEA exams and administering them to your students, you have helped us set a national standard for PA education testing. We are excited to be adding a new exam to the suite and will be sure to keep you updated as it gets finalized and ready for launch.

Emily Yunker, MPA, PMP

Emily is manager of assessment programs at PAEA. In this role, she coordinates the development and implementation of the PACKRAT™ and End of Rotation™ exams, working to provide the best possible tools to assess PA student knowledge.