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Tuesday, January 17th 2012

It Is Cheating But Should It Be?

This has been up and around. I’m sure within the radiology community the CNN “exclusive” was hardly news at all.

The gist of the accusation is that,

For years, doctors around the country taking an exam to become board certified in radiology have cheated by memorizing test questions, creating sophisticated banks of what are known as “recalls,” a CNN investigation has found.

No doubt what was going on constituted cheating. There were specific prohibitions against reproducing questions that test takers agreed to before the privilege of being able to take the written portions of the radiology boards.

But, I guess controversially, should it be that way?

True, it would be hardly a point of confidence if the board self published the questions on their tests and then told the resident candidates to memorize all the answers before they showed up. But the recalls are hardly that. I imagine them more as a study tool. I also imagine that studying them and getting the questions right on the board exam means the radiology residents have learned the material. And that seems the whole point of standardized testing as a method for certifying physicians for various specialties; to make sure they have a baseline, basic set of knowledge. In once sense, how does it matter how that knowledge is memorized?