The Effects of Problem-based Learning on National Board Scores, Clinical Evaluations and Residency Selection of Medical Students
Tomczak, Rodney Louis
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Problem Statement: There is much support in the literature that medical students are not able to remember facts taught during the first two years of medical school, assimilate those facts to care for patients, or solve patient problems adequately. Some medical educators have tried problem based learning as an alternative to the traditional lecture based curriculum. Few studies have addressed the short term outcomes of National Board Scores, Clinical Evaluations and Residency Selection for students encountering a problem based curriculum. Procedures: This study compared the Classes of 1990(Traditional Curriculum) and 1991(Problem Based Curriculum) of the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine. Those Parameters compared for statistical significance by ANOVA included six sections of the National Boards, Clinical Skills, Knowledge, Interpersonal Qualities and Self-directedness. A Chi-Square Test for Independence was used to compare success in residency selection for the two classes. Findings: There was no statistical difference on the Orthopaedic, Radiology, Dermatology, Surgery or Podiatric Medicine sections of the National Boards between the Classes of 1990 and 1991. The Class of 1990 scored significantly higher (p=. 036) on the Community Health section of the National Boards. There was no statistical difference on Clinical Evaluations except for Interpersonal Qualities on which the Class of 1991 scored significantly higher (p=.003). In Residency Selections, the Class of 1991 placed in desired residencies statistically better than the Class of 1990(p<.05). Conclusions: There were significantly better Interpersonal Qualities Evaluations and Residency Placements for the Class of 1991 which encountered a Problem Based Curriculum than the Class of 1990. Recommendations: Long term outcomes and levels of Self-directedness should be evaluated and compared between physicians who encountered different curriculums while in medical school.
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