The End of Curriculum exam is an objective, standardized evaluation of a student’s general medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation, to be given during the last four months of the program. It is designed to complement other tools in programs’ summative evaluations that assess core medical knowledge, as well as interpersonal skills, patient care skills, and professionalism — all necessary to be a successful physician assistant.
The End of Curriculum exam is the newest addition to PAEA’s suite of exams — providing assessment of PA students across the program, with exams developed by PA educators for PA students.
The Journey to the End of Curriculum Exam
We arrived at this exam through a development process that included several phases:
- Question Development: writing questions for the first exam forms
- Peer Review: reviewing the accuracy and quality of each question
- Editorial Review: ensuring the tone and consistency of each question
- Pilot Testing: gathering performance statistics on the first questions
- Key Validation: identifying questions in need of further review by content experts
- Standard Setting: defining categorical scores that correspond to policy level descriptors
- Board Approval: review and approval of the validity, defensibility, and performance standards
The End of Curriculum exam will be delivered through a secure, password-protected website that will use a lockdown browser to maintain content validity. The Safe Exam Browser is a secured lockdown browser required to administer the exam. After downloading the Safe Exam Browser and PAEA Launch File, students may launch an Installation Test that contains a mock exam mimicking the student experience — allowing the installation of the Safe Exam Browser to be tested before exam day.
PAEA complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations approved by universities. Typically, the exam is five hours long and takes place on one day. Students requiring extra time will be able to continue their exam on a second day, for time-and-a-half (7 hours and 30 minutes) or double time (10 hours). The exam window for these students will be extended into a second day, with the break occurring between sections. Program faculty can check the PAEA Knowledge Base for tutorials on how to set up an exam for students who require time accommodations.
ExamDriver is ADA-compliant and supports text zooming (up to 300 percent or triple enlargement), color inversion, and grayscale conversion for text. Additionally, locally administered accommodations available through the university, including anti-glare computer screens or glasses, large screen projection, private rooms, frequent breaks, and live readers, are also available for those who require them. To find out more about our accommodations, visit the following:
- What ADA accommodations does PAEA allow?
- How do I schedule an End of Curriculum exam with accommodations?
Programs have two purchasing options available. The first option is to buy each End of Curriculum exam separately based on the number of students who need to take it. The price per exam per student is $99. These individual exam credits never expire, so programs can buy in advance and assign when exams are needed.
A second option provides the full suite of PAEA exams — now available as the Student Exam Box™, which contains:
- Two PACKRAT® exams, one for each phase of education
- 10 End of Rotation™ exams for the clinical phase
- One End of Curriculum™ exam to be delivered in the last four months before graduation
Each Student Exam Box costs $420.
The End of Curriculum exam was possible thanks to the hard work of numerous professionals:
- 63 PA educators representing 53 programs built, wrote, and reviewed the foundational materials and content for the exam.
- 38 programs from every region of the U.S. helped us collect baseline statistics from students in the last four months of their education.
- In total, 80 programs have participated in one or more ways to launch this first version.
Along the way, multiple groups leant their expertise to the process. We owe special thanks to the End of Curriculum Exam Development Board members who have contributed to the first version of the exam over the three years of question development:
Anne Schempp, EdD, PA-C
Betty Hulse, MSPAS, PA-C
Cody Black, MHS, PA-C
Juliann Garza Castillo, PhD, PA-C, CRC
Jill Cavalet, DHSc, MHS, PA-C
Todd Doran, EdD, PA-C
Mary Flanagan, MS, PA-C
Jennifer Forbes, MHS, PA-C
Erika Francis, MSPAS, PA-C
Meredith Quinene, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C
Patty Scholting, MPAS, MPH, PA-C
Sandra Stennett, MS, MPAS, PA-C
Tracey Thurnes, EdD, MPAS, PA-C
Jeffrey Williams, MPAS, PA-C
Jean Covino, DHSc, MPA, PA-C
Gerald Kayingo, PhD, MMSc, PA-C
Nicolette Mosinski, MPAS, PA-C
PAEA Assessment Editor in Chief
Kimberly A. Cavanagh, DHSc, PA-C
PAEA Director, Assessment
Emily Yunker, MPA, PMP
This list is not exhaustive. The people and institutions that contributed their time and expertise are greatly appreciated. They led the blueprint development, question development, peer and editorial review, pilot testing, key validation, performance level descriptor development, and standard-setting, and final approval. After 4 years, we’re excited to see the End of Curriculum exam launch today, and we are appreciative of the more than 20 programs that have already adopted the exam.
To learn more about the End of Curriculum exam and how to bring it to your program, visit the PAEA Assessment website.