Expert Panel Sets PAEA End of Curriculum™ Performance Standards for 2022
The PAEA End of Curriculum exam, a 300-question, objective, standardized evaluation of a student’s medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation, launched January 6, 2020. The current performance standards were set in December 2019, prior to exam launch, based on the performance of nearly 800 students at 20 programs who took a pilot version of the exam. In maintaining our commitment to the quality of this new exam, we convened a standard setting panel this August based on the performance of the over 4,700 students at 130 programs who have taken the exam since launch. We believe that the live administrations more accurately reflect student performance which is why we are repeating the panel this year in advance of publishing new forms and national data in January 2022.
Like the creation of the exam, the standard-setting process was conducted by PA educators and subject matter experts from a variety of roles and PA programs. The 22 participants brought a variety of different perspectives to the process.
PAEA would like to thank all of those who volunteered numerous hours during this process. It was inspiring to see a group of experienced PA educators working together on this important task.
Setting the Standards
The expert panel used Item Mapping and the Bookmark Method, both officially recognized as empirically justifiable processes to standard-set exams. Panelists followed a robust and rigorous process to place test items into one of three performance categories: Limited Medical Knowledge, Satisfactory Medical Knowledge, and Advanced Medical Knowledge.
The Standard Setting Panel provides their recommendations to the PAEA Board of Directors who are asked to determine that best practices were followed and that the results are psychometrically and legally defensible. PAEA provides both performance standards and national comparative data on the End of Curriculum exam score reports to help when considering a student’s readiness for graduation. It is important to remember that programs must determine if these performance standards accurately represent pass scores within their individual programs. PAEA recommends that programs monitor student and cohort performance on the End of Curriculum exam and adjust their local scoring process as needed.
PAEA will publish the updated performance standards and national comparative data in advance of publishing new exam forms in January of 2022. To learn more about this process, please attend the “PAEA Assessment 411” at the 2021 PAEA Forum.