Three controversies over item disclosure in medical licensure examinations
Yoon Soo Park ; Eunbae B. Yang
Medical Education Online, Vol.20 : 28821, 2015
Medical Education Online
In response to views on public's right to know, there is growing attention to item disclosure - release of items, answer keys, and performance data to the public - in medical licensure examinations and their potential impact on the test's ability to measure competence and select qualified candidates. Recent debates on this issue have sparked legislative action internationally, including South Korea, with prior discussions among North American countries dating over three decades. The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze three issues associated with item disclosure in medical licensure examinations - 1) fairness and validity, 2) impact on passing levels, and 3) utility of item disclosure - by synthesizing existing literature in relation to standards in testing. Historically, the controversy over item disclosure has centered on fairness and validity. Proponents of item disclosure stress test takers' right to know, while opponents argue from a validity perspective. Item disclosure may bias item characteristics, such as difficulty and discrimination, and has consequences on setting passing levels. To date, there has been limited research on the utility of item disclosure for large scale testing. These issues requires ongoing and careful consideration.