Medical school faculty are critical to the education of future physicians. In addition to teaching, faculty must assess their students’ knowledge to know if students are meeting objectives set for courses and clerkships and if changes are needed to the educational program. The intensity of graduate school and medical school that most medical school faculty experienced leaves little opportunity to learn how to create good assessments. A goal of the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) is to equip medical educators with all the tools and best practices for writing better school-based assessments for their learners.
For the second year in a row, nearly 300 US medical school educators will participate in NBME’s Invitational Conference for Educators being held this year in Indianapolis on May 15-16. The event will enable faculty to network with each other and learn how to write better assessments through two assessment tracks - Written Assessment Track and Performance Assessment. Both tracks will be led by expert NBME staff to furnish participants with the knowledge and current techniques for building new skills.
Last year’s conference key-note speaker, Alison Whelan, Chief Medical Officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), said “When assessment is done right, it is helping students to see their progress and become independent physicians.”
She also noted “Why do we assess in medical education? It’s for our learners. It’s for our programs- are we meeting our goals? It is for others. We assess so our students can get licensed. And most importantly, we do it for the public. We have to show that the people we are training to care for them have the competence and the abilities to do what they want to do. “
At the conclusion of last year’s event, many participants expressed the desire to volunteer with NBME in the future and felt “motivated and excited to share with my colleagues and to put what was learned into action.” This year’s conference aims to make the same impact by highlighting the value of assessment and deepening the knowledge and skills of the community.
NBME is committed to providing resources and benefits to the medical education community in recognition of the valuable contributions of the faculty who give their time and energy to our products and services. More than 400 individuals serve on a United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) committee, panel, or task force each year. While NBME has had item-writing workshops and educator guides available for several years, leaders and staff wanted to do more. In 2017 NBME’s Executive Board endowed the Strategic Educator Enhancement Fund to sustain annual conferences and other activities to help NBME engage with, and support, the medical education community. We are grateful for the extraordinary commitment and dedication of faculty members in advancing NBME’s mission.