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Logo of bmcmeduBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Education
BMC Med Educ. 2012; 12: 60.
Published online Jul 28, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1472-6920-12-60
PMCID: PMC3461424
The validity of Iran’s national university entrance examination (Konkoor) for predicting medical students’ academic performance
Yasin Farrokhi-Khajeh-Pasha,1 Saharnaz Nedjat,corresponding author2 Aeen Mohammadi,3 Elaheh Malakan Rad,4 Reza Majdzadeh,2 Farshid Monajemi,5 Ehsan Jamali,6 and Shahryar Yazdani7
1Medical School, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2School of public health, Knowledge Utilization Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3Center for Educational Research in Medical Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Medical Center (Pediatric Center of Excellence), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran
6National Organization of Educational Testing, Tehran, Iran
7Educational development center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Yasin Farrokhi-Khajeh-Pasha: y.f.pasha/at/; Saharnaz Nedjat: nejatsan/at/; Aeen Mohammadi: aeen_mohammadi/at/; Elaheh Malakan Rad: emrpic/at/; Reza Majdzadeh: rezamajd/at/; Farshid Monajemi: monajemifarshid/at/; Ehsan Jamali: jamali/at/; Shahryar Yazdani: shahryaryazdani/at/
Received November 7, 2011; Accepted July 12, 2012.
In Iran, admission to medical school is based solely on the results of the highly competitive, nationwide Konkoor examination. This paper examines the predictive validity of Konkoor scores, alone and in combination with high school grade point averages (hsGPAs), for the academic performance of public medical school students in Iran.
This study followed the cohort of 2003 matriculants at public medical schools in Iran from entrance through internship. The predictor variables were Konkoor total and subsection scores and hsGPAs. The outcome variables were (1) Comprehensive Basic Sciences Exam (CBSE) scores; (2) Comprehensive Pre-Internship Exam (CPIE) scores; and (3) medical school grade point averages (msGPAs) for the courses taken before internship. Pearson correlation and regression analyses were used to assess the relationships between the selection criteria and academic performance.
There were 2126 matriculants (1374 women and 752 men) in 2003. Among the outcome variables, the CBSE had the strongest association with the Konkoor total score (r = 0.473), followed by msGPA (r = 0.339) and the CPIE (r = 0.326). While adding hsGPAs to the Konkoor total score almost doubled the power to predict msGPAs (R2 = 0.225), it did not have a substantial effect on CBSE or CPIE prediction.
The Konkoor alone, and even in combination with hsGPA, is a relatively poor predictor of medical students’ academic performance, and its predictive validity declines over the academic years of medical school. Care should be taken to develop comprehensive admissions criteria, covering both cognitive and non-cognitive factors, to identify the best applicants to become "good doctors" in the future. The findings of this study can be helpful for policy makers in the medical education field.
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