Certification exams evaluated with serial clinical cases: theoretical and problematic approach




Víctor Hugo Olmedo-Canchola, División de Estudios de Posgrado, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, México
Pierre Jean-Aurelus, Servicio de Trasplantes, Hospital de Pediatría, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Ciudad de México, México
Miguel Á. Vásquez-Luna, Comité Normativo Nacional de Consejos de Especialidades Médicas, Ciudad de México, México
José I. Santos-Preciado, Unidad de Medicina Experimental, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, México


The objective of this issue is a theoretical approach to the disadvantages involved in taking the certification exams of medical specializations through serial clinical cases and analyzing them with the Classical Test Theory (TCT). The certification exams of medical specializations correspond to criterial summative exams with high consequences. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain the highest quality standards in all the processes involved in preparing the exam. At present, it has been detected that some councils of medical specialties conduct the certification exams with tests that contain serial clinical cases and the psychometric analysis that they conduct is supported by the TCT; however, the structure of this type of test violates the fundamental assumptions of the TCT. The violation of the fundamental assumptions of the TCT in the tests constructed through serial clinical cases can lead to biases or misinterpretations of the results. Due to the above, it is advisable to use other psychometric models for the analysis of this type of test, or to avoid the use of serial clinical cases in the certification exams of medical specialties.



Keywords: Medical certification. Medical council. Medical evaluation. Psychometrics. Classical test theory. Testlet.




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