Relationships Between the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test (COMAT) Subject Examinations and the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation

Feiming Li, PhD; Kevin E. Kalinowski, PhD; Hao Song, PhD; and Bruce P. Bates, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 1, 2013

Accepted: April 21, 2014

Published: September 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(9): 714-721

Context: The relationship between the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test (COMAT) series of subject examinations and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE) has not been thoroughly examined.

Objectives: To investigate the factors associated with performance on COMAT subject examinations and how COMAT scores correlate with COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores.

Methods: We examined scores of participants from 2 COMAT examination cycles in 2011 and 2012. According to surveys, most schools used COMAT scores in clerkship and clinical rotation evaluation, which were classified as being used for “high-stakes” purposes. We matched first-attempt COMAT scores with first-attempt COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores, and we conducted correlation analyses between the scores from the 7 COMAT subject examinations, as well as between COMAT and COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to investigate how much variance in COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores was explained by COMAT scores.

Results: In 2011 and 2012, respectively, 3751 and 3786 COMAT candidates had COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores (53.0% and 93.9%, respectively, had ⩾1 high-stakes COMAT score). Intercorrelations between COMAT scores were low to moderate (r=0.27-0.53), as hypothesized. Correlations between COMAT and Level 2-CE scores were moderate to high, with the highest correlations for internal medicine COMAT scores (r=0.63-0.65). All regressions showed internal medicine scores as the strongest predictor of Level 2-CE performance. Groups with high-stakes scores had larger adjusted coefficients of determination than those with low-stakes scores (eg, R2=0.63 vs 0.52, respectively, in 2011). For 2012 candidates with high-stakes scores, all predictors were statistically significant.

Conclusions: The COMAT subject examination scores were moderately intercorrelated, as hypothesized, with higher correlations between COMAT and COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores. The COMAT performance was predictive of COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE performance.

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