Predictive Relationship of Osteopathic Manual Medicine Grades and COMLEX-USA Level 1 Total Scores and Osteopathic Principles and Practice Subscores

Drew D. Lewis, DO; Mary T. Johnson, PhD; and Edward P. Finnerty, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: September 18, 2013

Accepted: November 8, 2013

Published: June 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(6): 480-485

Context: Osteopathic manual medicine (OMM) encompasses hands-on diagnosis and treatment as part of patient care. The area of osteopathic principles and practice (OPP) is considered a core competency for students and practitioners of this medical tradition. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) is a useful tool for assessing candidates’ competency.

Objectives: To examine the relationship of COMLEX-USA Level 1 total scores and OPP subscores with OMM course grades, and to determine if these grades are predictive of COMLEX-USA Level 1 OPP performance.

Methods: The authors collected data—COMLEX-USA Level 1 total and OPP subscores, OMM grades (written, practical, and total for first and second academic years), sex, and age—for a cohort of osteopathic medical students at a single institution, and these data were then analyzed by means of correlation analysis.

Results: Records were obtained from a second-year class of osteopathic medical students (N=217). The authors’ analysis of total scores and OPP subscores on COMLEX-USA Level 1 yielded a statistically significant correlation with all variables. Although the correlations were moderate, second-year written examination grades showed the strongest association with the COMLEX-USA Level 1 OPP subscores (r=0.530) and total scores (r=0.566).

Conclusions: Performance in the second-year OMM written examination could identify students potentially at risk for poor performance on COMLEX-USA Level 1.

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