10 Facts to Celebrate 10 Years of PAEA End of Rotation Exams

To mark this year’s 10th Anniversary of the PAEA End of Rotation™ exams, we want to share 10 interesting and helpful facts about this important tool for evaluating PA students. We will also introduce some of the educators who worked on developing the first End of Rotation exam in 2013. Below are facts you may not be aware of, along with what our exam item-writers find important about our exams.

  1. Starting with the sixth version, PAEA moved to reporting scores using a scale. This allows different forms within the same year and across years to be comparable.  
  2. The PAEA End of Rotation exams can be administered with or without a proctor, which gives members and students more flexibility with exam delivery. 
  3. The PAEA End of Rotation exams are written by PA educators for PA students. All exam questions go through multi-stage peer review by PA educators and the questions are statistically validated for accuracy and consistency with the assistance of professional psychometricians. 

    Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C, associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has worked on the exam in several capacities over the years. She said she was proud to be part of the creation of a peer-reviewed, high-quality product that programs can use to assess their students in the clinical year, so the program doesn’t have to invest the time and resources to develop the exam on their own.

    “This went from an idea to something that is well utilized by programs across the country,” she said.

  4. The PAEA End of Rotation exams offers seven different subspeciality exams. There are at least two forms available for each PAEA End of Rotation exam, providing the option for a re-test form. Family Medicine has three forms available, which allows programs with two family medicine rotations to test twice and still retain a third form for re-testing. 
  5. Several cross-cutting criteria, including task and content area, guide the development and delivery of the End of Rotation exams. The goal of these targets is to assist the exam development team in ensuring that the exams, to the extent a multiple-choice exam can, evaluate the breadth of dimensions critical to a PA student’s preparation. 
  6. Questions developed for PAEA End of Rotation exams reflect the needs of the diverse patient population PAs treat, and are peer reviewed for biased language. The exams also cover the lifespan and reflect a variety of patient care settings. 

    John Sheffield, MPAS, PA-C Emeritus, assistant professor at South University, was one of the members of the team who worked on the exam in its earliest stages.

    “Once we started to put together an effective, efficient process of developing and peer reviewing, and peer reviewing again, and then finally publishing these test items in the form of the End of Rotation exam, I knew that this was going to be something that would last,” he said.

  7. The PAEA End of Rotation examinations are fixed-length linear tests consisting of 100 operational (scored) items with an additional 20 pretest (unscored) items. These unscored items appear the same to the student and allow for additional quality assurance measures to be taken in the exam development process. 
  8. Exam form assignments, and items within each form, are randomized to mitigate exam security risks and ensure a student’s score is representative of their own medical knowledge. 
  9. The PAEA End of Rotation Exam will soon have a published Faculty Guide which offers context to the exam’s development and utilization. It gives background into creation of its blueprint, guiding principles, content area list, exam items, and core task and objectives, the scientific review that occurred upon completion, and scoring report interpretation.  
  10. PAEA is transitioning to a new exam delivery platform, which willenhance the End of Rotation student test taker and member experience. Members will have all aspects of the platform at their fingertips, in addition to all existing educational resources, once logged into the Member Community. 

PAEA and the members who contributed to the End of Rotation Exam are proud this assessment tool has endured for a decade. The exam has not been static in that time, of course, and many talented educators have contributed in many ways to making sure the test remains valid even as the world of health care changes rapidly. PAEA continues to host annual Exam Development Summits, where exam questions are created, refined and revamped so marking the 10th anniversary is only a moment in time. We know our writers and PA educators are excited about the next 10 years.