Newer Approaches to Medical Student Assessments

Presented by Bruce P. Bates and Melanie V. Nelson on February 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Bruce Bates, D.O. Senior Vice President for Cognitive Testing of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) will present on the mission and assessment products of the NBOME with a description of one new product and a new product under development. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test (COMAT), an end of service assessment utilization, acceptance and performance will be described along with a brief outline of its correlation with licensing and certification performance. Modeled on a process utilized by The Medical Council of Canada, a new product, Clinical Decision Making (CDM, that is under development will apply a key features approach in an open ended and short answer format for clinical presentations scenarios. The concept development and pilot process will be discussed.

The National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) offers two online platforms for the design, construction and delivery of local web-based examinations: Customized Assessment Services (CAS) and the Global Evaluation Management System™ (GEMS™).  Melanie Nelson, Program Manager for Products & Services, will offer participants a look into how CAS, which offers a pool of 10,000+ high quality, secure items assembled from the NBME basic science bank, has helped faculty develop exams to meet a variety of assessment needs.   Participants will also be provided with an example of how one school has used the GEMS versatile end-to-end assessment management to link items in a Nervous Systems course in a way that allows students and faculty to evaluate study habits and use resources to improve specific learning styles.

If you have any additional questions after participating in this session, please email

Seminar Archive

Presenter Bios

Bruce P. BatesDr. Bates is the Senior Vice President for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, responsible for the oversight of the organization’s cognitive examinations which includes the self-assessment COMSAE, the end-of-service subject exams COMAT, and the COMLEX-USA three-level licensure series for osteopathic medicine.

Dr. Bates’ career spans more than 35 years of clinical practice and medical education including residency director, clinical medical direction, and academic medicine.  He joined the NBOME from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine where he had been the Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Chair of the Department of Geriatric Medicine.  He was the president of the medical staff for Southern Maine Medical Center.  Certified in Family Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Care, he has also served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, as well as Medical Director for both SolAmor Hospice of Maine and MatureCare, a multi-professional group dedicated to long term care.

Melanie V. Nelson

Melanie has been with the National Board of Medical Examiners® since 1970. Over the years she has worn many hats, starting as a secretary in the Psychometrics unit and gradually moving up to other roles, which have included operational responsibility for the NBME Subject Examination Program, management of the NBME Services Portal and, most recently, directing the transition of the paper subject examinations to web-based test delivery.  She has also played an active role in NBME’s liaison efforts with medical schools and national student groups over the years, delivering presentations about USMLE and NBME programs and staffing exhibit booths.  Melanie now spends her time managing the NBME Customized Assessment Services (CAS) and Global Evaluation Management System (GEMS), two online platforms for the design, construction and delivery of local web-based examinations.