Reliability Evidence for Examination Cut Scores within a Medical School

  •  Milton Severo    
  •  Rita Gaio    
  •  Daniel Moura    
  •  Rui Fontes    
  •  Teresa Rodrigues    
  •  Adelino Moreira    
  •  Isaura Tavares    
  •  Luis Delgado    
  •  Maria Tavares    


Establishing credible cut scores for performance-type examinations in health professions education can be
challenging. The authors aimed to compare the pass-fail cut-score reliability with the maximum reliability
cut-score from multiple-choice tests (MCTs) designed on different undergraduate disciplines. Using the
cross-sectional evaluation of 1370 tests from six disciplines from Porto medical school, Portugal, in 2010, the
pass-fail cut-score reliability was obtained from the one-parameter logistic model of item response theory model.
The test information curve achieved maximum reliability for ability levels ranging from -1.40 to -0.01 standard
deviations below the average. The pass-fail cut score for estimated ability ranged from -1.36 to 0.25. These
results showed that all MCTs had a pass and fail threshold of competence, and that was appropriate for the
maximum information obtainable from the examination to occur at the pass and fail level; nevertheless, the
maximum information was not achieved in the pass and fail level.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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