There is a clear need to educate health professionals in genomic medicine. Pathologists, given their critical role in cancer diagnostics, must understand core concepts in genomic oncology. Although high-quality evaluation is a cornerstone of medical education, to our knowledge a rigorously validated genomic oncology assessment tool has not been published.


To develop and validate a genomic oncology exam.


A previously developed exam was updated and validated using 3 approaches: pretesting/posttesting in relation to a live genomic pathology workshop; comparison of scores of individuals at a priori defined knowledge levels; and use of Rasch analysis. This last approach is used in high-stakes testing, such as licensing exams. The exam included both knowledge-based as well as skills-based questions related to the use of online genomics tools.


There was a significant difference in exam scores preworkshop and postworkshop (37.5% to 75%; P < .001). Individuals at a priori defined beginner, intermediate, and expert levels scored 35%, 58%, and 89%, respectively (P < .001). Rasch analysis demonstrated excellent fit and reliability and led to further exam refinement with the removal of 2 questions deemed unnecessary for assessment.


A rigorously validated exam has now been created to assess pathologist genomic oncology knowledge and skills. The exam can be used to assess both individual learners as well as educational interventions. The exam may also be applicable to other specialties involved in genomic-based cancer care.

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Author notes

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R25CA168544.

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.