Exam Scoring & Results FAQ
All examinations at the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology meet or exceed the standards established for criterion-referenced examinations. This information provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the interpretation of candidate scores and the examination scoring process.
How are the Examinations Scored?
There are two ways in which standardized examinations are traditionally scored: norm-referenced and criterion-referenced. Norm-referenced scoring compares every candidate’s performance against every other candidate. Because norm-referencing does not evaluate competency, all AOBR (and AOA) examinations are criterion-referenced. Criterion-referenced examinations are constructed of items representative of the set of knowledge, skills, and abilities considered important to the profession. Candidate scores represent a level of mastery relative to this set of knowledge, skills, and abilities and not a simple percentage of any random set of items on the examination.
How are Standards Set for the Exam?
Standard setting exercises are routinely conducted to establish mastery level requirements on the AOBR examinations. Pass points are not determined simply by counts of correct and incorrect responses. Candidate performance scores represent mastery across the spectrum of content areas. Candidates are expected to demonstrate mastery by answering questions correctly at a difficulty level corresponding to a competency considered excellent. For example, for each content area, a description of performance can be modeled using tasks/items arranged from those that are considered easy and common, to those that are difficult and less common. This conceptual continuum represents professional performance (from basic to excellent) within the particular content area. The Board establishes mastery expectations for successful candidates by defining a point along this continuum where practice excellence is established. This point of excellence becomes the mastery standard by which all candidates are measured. Those candidates who are successful at demonstrating this mastery by successfully challenging questions at this level, are passed. Those who are not, are not passed.
How Many Questions do I Need to Answer Correctly to Pass?
There are no fixed percentage requirements. Instead, candidates must be able to demonstrate excellence by answering correctly, those items that are minimally at or near the aforementioned passing point. All candidates are held to the same high level of content mastery year after year.
What is a Scaled Score?
The AOBR scaled scores present candidates with performance measures along a ruler running from a low of 100 to a high of 800. A scaled score of 400 represents the minimal performance level required to demonstrate excellence. Scaled scores cannot be converted to percentages because they refer to linear (content) achievement measures and not raw scores.
Are Examinations Graded on a Curve?
No. All AOBR examinations are criterion-referenced. Curving is a norm-referenced practice.
Are All Items Worth the Same Number of Points?
No question is worth any more than any other question in general, however, some items are more complicated (difficult) than others. Candidates who are able to answer those difficult questions correctly demonstrate a greater level of mastery than candidates who cannot. Therefore mastery scores for those candidates are increased by a greater amount when these difficult items are successfully challenged than when easier, more simplistic questions are challenged.
Are a Certain Number of Candidates Passed and Failed each Year?
No. AOBR examinations are criterion-referenced. Candidates are passed based on mastery of content knowledge only.
Are New or Unscored Items Included on the Exam?
It is standard practice to include new items on examinations. However, during the scoring process, each AOBR examination undergoes extensive psychometric analysis. Poorly performing or underperforming items are removed from the scoring process to ensure candidates are treated fairly and equitably.
When can I expect my exam results?
Exam results will be mailed via US Postal Service within 4-6 weeks to the address indicated by the candidate upon exam registration. Results will not be given over the telephone or via email.