The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®)
The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) is a nationally recognized medical licensure examination sponsored jointly by NBME and the Federation of State Medical Boards. These evaluations are accepted by the medical licensing authorities of the states and territories of the United States as evidence of minimum competence to practice medicine. NBME develops, prepares, administers and scores these examinations as a qualification for licensure of physicians.
Medical School Services
The Medical School Services unit provides a variety of assessment services to domestic and international medical schools and students. In 2009, over 272,000 assessments were provided to medical schools and students through the subject examination program, self-assessment services and new web-based examination programs and pilot projects.
Health Profession Services
The Health Profession Services unit provides testing, educational, consultative, and research services to a number of medical specialty boards, societies and health sciences organizations. Services include development, administration, and analysis of examinations for licensure, certification, recertification, in-training, self-assessment or evaluation of special competence. These examinations are administered to more than 50,000 examinees annually.
The Post-Licensure Assessment System (PLAS) is a joint activity of NBME and the Federation of State Medical Boards. PLAS comprises two programs: the Special Purpose Examination (SPEX) Program and the Assessment Center Program (ACP). The PLAS programs have assessed thousands of physicians over the past decade for reasons that range from endorsement of licensure to license reactivation after disciplinary action.
International Programs provide consultation, psychometric, and examination services for international examination programs. These include services to international medical schools and students, collaborative research efforts with international schools, and licensure and residency selection examinations with various countries.
Research and Development
Research and Development Programs include the Center for Innovation and the Stemmler Medical Education Research Fund. The Center for Innovation is charged with development of new products and services and exploration of new ventures that facilitate NBME's strategic vision and mission. The Stemmler Medical Education Research Fund assists research in topics relevant to the mission of NBME and has supported 65 grant awards for a total of over $5 million since 1995.
In addition to these defined programs of research and development, each program area and service unit is charged to carry on a program of research and development relevant to the work of the program or unit, for example, development of new item formats for USMLE, exploring relationships between prior measures and certifying exam performance for our clients, or developing new testing methods for clients. These research and development activities result in the publication of dozens of research reports in scientific journals and presentations at scientific meetings each year.