Baylor College of Medicine has conducted a summer enrichment program for minority/disadvantaged premedical students since 1969. Follow-up data on medical school application and acceptance for participants from 1980 through 1984 were analyzed in relation to selected preprogram variables--cumulative college grade point average, total Scholastic Aptitude Test score, competitiveness of undergraduate college, sex, and ethnicity. Results of univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that: 1) females were significantly less likely to apply to medical school than males, 2) females had significantly lower mean MCAT scores (5.9 vs 7.2) even though their preprogram academic performance was comparable to that of the males, and 3) after controlling for MCAT scores, none of the preprogram variables were significant in predicting medical school acceptance. These findings suggest the need for research to explain the discrepancy between male and female MCAT performance and frequency of medical school application in summer program participants. The findings also have implications for the type of counseling provided to female participants in summer enrichment programs.
To evaluate the correlation between specific prepharmacy college variables and academic success in the Texas Tech doctor of pharmacy degree program.
Undergraduate and pharmacy school transcripts for 424 students admitted to the Texas Tech doctor of pharmacy degree program between May 1996 and May 2001 were reviewed in August of 2005. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS Release 11.5. The undergraduate college variables included prepharmacy grade point-average (GPA), organic chemistry school type (2- or 4-year institution), chemistry, biology, and math courses beyond required prerequisites, and attainment of a bachelor of science (BS), bachelor of arts (BA), or master of science (MS) degree. Measurements of academic success in pharmacy school included cumulative first-professional year (P1) GPA, cumulative GPA (grade point average of all coursework finished to date), and graduation without academic delay or suspension.
Completing advanced biology courses and obtaining a BS degree prior to pharmacy school were each significantly correlated with a higher mean P1 GPA. Furthermore, the mean cumulative GPA of students with a BS degree was 86.4 versus cumulative GPAs of those without a BS degree which were 84.9, respectively (p = 0.039). Matriculates with advanced prerequisite biology coursework or a BS degree prior to pharmacy school were significantly more likely to graduate from the doctor of pharmacy program without academic delay or suspension (p = 0.021 and p = 0.027, respectively). Furthermore, advanced biology coursework was significantly and independently associated with graduating on time (p = 0.044).
Advanced biology coursework and a science baccalaureate degree were significantly associated with academic success in pharmacy school. On multivariate analysis, only advanced biology coursework remained a significant predictor of success.
academic success; pharmacy students; grade point average; graduation; prerequisites; performance
Recent research shows that nonacademic variables must be taken into account when analyzing the indicators of medical student success. However, most previous studies have been limited to a single institution or population. This study investigated the relationship between nonacademic variables and performance at two very different medical schools. The Noncognitive Questionnaire was administered to 104 students at School A (predominantly white and historically oriented toward women) and 102 at School B (predominantly black). Correlation and multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship among nonacademic variables, undergraduate academic variables (Medical College Admission Test, undergraduate grade point average, and college quality), basic science grades, and US Medical Licensure Exam Step I (USMLE 1) scores. At School A, leadership/decisiveness, expected difficulty, and motivation predicted higher USMLE I scores and higher basic science grades each semester. At School B, expected difficulty was correlated with higher first semester grades only. For School A women, initiative/commitment was positively associated with both higher grades and higher USMLE scores. For black students of School B, expected difficulty was positively associated with higher grades. Identifying school-specific nonacademic variables of performance is critical to developing improved student support services.
Students who entered their freshman year for the first time in 1958 and in 1959, from all medical schools in Canada, and those entering the four Western schools in 1960 were studied from the time they matriculated until they either graduated or withdrew from medical school. The rate of attrition is about 15% of matriculants each year, with the lowest rate at the University of Western Ontario (1.7%) and the highest at the University of Ottawa (33.6%) over the time period studied. Attrition was classified as academic and non-academic. Significantly higher rates were found in the case of non-academic attrition for women and in the case of academic attrition for Commonwealth students. Significantly higher rates for both types of attrition were found for older students and students who had attended undergraduate colleges different from their medical school colleges. It would appear from available statistics that the factors which combine to produce attrition are the intellectual and personality characteristics of the student, school promotional policies and evaluation methods.
To determine Nepalese pharmacy students' perceptions of whether mental disorders impact performance in pharmacy school.
All first- and third-year undergraduate pharmacy students (n=226) in Nepal were invited to complete a modified version of the Mental Illness Performance Scale.
Among the 200 respondents (response rate 88.5%), 14% reported that they had a mental disorder. The majority (92%) of third-year students agreed or strongly agreed that depression would interfere with a student's academic performance. Almost half of first-year students agreed or strongly agreed that alcohol or drug abuse would be grounds for both rejecting an applicant from pharmacy school (49%) and dismissal of a student from pharmacy school (46%).
Students perceived a high level of academic impairment associated with mental disorders, but the majority did not perceive that mental disorders were grounds for dismissal from or rejection of entry to pharmacy school. Students' attitudes may discourage them from seeking help or providing mental health support to others.
attitude of health personnel; mental disorders; pharmacy students; mental health
Learning environment in any medical school is found to be important in determining students' academic success. This study was undertaken to compare the perceptions of first year and clinical phase students regarding the learning environment at Melaka Manipal Medical College (MMMC) (Manipal Campus) and also to identify the gender wise differences in their perceptions.
In the present study, the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) inventory was used. DREEM was originally developed at Dundee and has been validated as a universal diagnostic inventory for assessing the quality of educational environment. In the present study, DREEM was administered to undergraduate medical students of first year (n = 118) and clinical phase (n = 108) and the scores were compared using a nonparametric test.
Among the two batches, first year students were found to be more satisfied with the learning environment at MMMC (as indicated by their higher DREEM score) compared to the clinical batch students. Gender wise, there was not much difference in the students' perceptions.
The present study revealed that both groups of students perceived the learning environment positively. Nevertheless, the study also revealed problematic areas of learning environment in our medical school which enabled us to adopt some remedial measures.
Substance use remains high among Ethiopian youth and young adolescents particularly in high schools and colleges. The use of alcohol, khat and tobacco by college and university students can be harmful; leading to decreased academic performance, increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, the magnitude of substance use and the factors associated with it has not been investigated among medical students in the country. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of substance use and identify factors that influenced the behavior among undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.
A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested structured self-administered quantitative questionnaire was conducted in June 2009 among 622 medical students (Year I to Internship program) at the School of Medicine. The data were entered into Epi Info version 6.04d and analyzed using SPSS version 15 software program. Descriptive statistics were used for data summarization and presentation. Differences in proportions were compared for significance using Chi Square test, with significance level set at p < 0.05. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess the magnitude of associations between substance use and socio-demographic and behavioral correlates.
In the last 12 months, alcohol was consumed by 22% (25% males vs. 14% females, p = 0.002) and khat use was reported by 7% (9% males vs. 1.5% females, p < 0.001) of the students. About 9% of the respondents (10.6% males vs. 4.6% females, p = 0.014) reported ever use of cigarette smoking, and 1.8% were found to be current smokers. Using multiple logistic regression models, being male was strongly associated with alcohol use in the last 12 months (adjusted OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.22-3.76). Students whose friends currently consume alcohol were more likely to consume alcohol (adjusted OR = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.50-4.08) and whose friends' use tobacco more likely to smoke (adjusted OR = 3.89, 95% CI = 1.83-8.30). Khat use within the past 12 months was strongly and positively associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 15.11, 95% CI = 4.24-53.91). Similarly, ever use of cigarette was also significantly associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 8.65, 95% CI = 3.48-21.50).
Concordant use of alcohol, khat and tobacco is observed and exposure to friends' use of substances is often implicated. Alcohol consumption or khat use has been significantly associated with tobacco use. While the findings of this study suggest that substance use among the medical students was not alarming, but its trend increased among students from Year I to Internship program. The university must be vigilant in monitoring and educating the students about the consequences of substance use.
This study explored the relationship between traditional admissions criteria, performance in the first semester of medical school, and performance on the National Board of Medical Examiners' (NBME) Examination, Part 1 for minority medical students, non-minority medical students, and the two groups combined. Correlational analysis and step-wise multiple regression procedures were used as the analysis techniques. A different pattern of admissions variables related to National Board Part 1 performance for the two groups. The General Information section of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) contributed the most variance for the minority student group. MCAT-Science contributed the most variance for the non-minority student group. MCATs accounted for a substantial portion of the variance on the National Board examination.
In recent years there has been a growing appreciation of the issues of quality of life and stresses involved medical training as this may affect their learning and academic performance. However, such studies are lacking in medical schools of Nepal. Therefore, we carried out this study to assess the prevalence of psychological morbidity, sources and severity of stress and coping strategies among medical students in our integrated problem-stimulated undergraduate medical curriculum.
A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was carried out among the undergraduate medical students of Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal during the time period August, 2005 to December, 2006. The psychological morbidity was assessed using General Health Questionnaire. A 24-item questionnaire was used to assess sources of stress and their severity. Coping strategies adopted was assessed using brief COPE inventory.
The overall response rate was 75.8% (407 out of 525 students). The overall prevalence of psychological morbidity was 20.9% and was higher among students of basic sciences, Indian nationality and whose parents were medical doctors. By logistic regression analysis, GHQ-caseness was associated with occurrence of academic and health-related stressors. The most common sources of stress were related to academic and psychosocial concerns. The most important and severe sources of stress were staying in hostel, high parental expectations, vastness of syllabus, tests/exams, lack of time and facilities for entertainment. The students generally used active coping strategies and alcohol/drug was a least used coping strategy. The coping strategies commonly used by students in our institution were positive reframing, planning, acceptance, active coping, self-distraction and emotional support. The coping strategies showed variation by GHQ-caseness, year of study, gender and parents' occupation.
The higher level of psychological morbidity warrants need for interventions like social and psychological support to improve the quality of life for these medical students. Student advisors and counselors may train students about stress management. There is also need to bring about academic changes in quality of teaching and evaluation system. A prospective study is necessary to study the association of psychological morbidity with demographic variables, sources of stress and coping strategies.
Diversity improves all students’ academic experiences and their abilities to work with patients from differing backgrounds. Little is known about what makes minority students select one medical school over another.
To measure the impact of the existence of a health disparities course in the medical school curriculum on recruitment of underrepresented minority (URM) college students to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
All medical school applicants interviewed in academic years 2007 and 2008 at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (PSOM) attended an orientation that detailed a required health care disparities curriculum introduced in 2006. Matriculants completed a precourse survey measuring the impact of the existence of the course on their decision to attend PSOM. URM was defined by the American Association of Medical Colleges as Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Mexican American, and Mainland Puerto Rican.
Precourse survey responses were 100% and 96% for entering classes of 2007 and 2008, respectively. Among those students reporting knowledge of the course (128/210, 61%), URM students (27/37, 73%) were more likely than non-URM students (38/91, 42%) to report that knowledge of the existence of the course influenced their decision to attend PSOM (p = 0.002). Analysis of qualitative responses revealed that students felt that the curriculum gave the school a reputation for placing importance on health disparities and social justice issues. URM student enrollment at PSOM, which had remained stable from years 2005 and 2006 at 12% and 11% of the total incoming classes, respectively, increased to 22% of the total class size in 2007 (p = 0.03) and 19 percent in 2008.
The required health disparities course may have contributed to the increased enrollment of URM students at PSOM in 2007 and 2008.
health disparities; curriculum; education; medical students; underserved
Objective To study medical students' views about the quality of the teaching they receive during their undergraduate training, especially in terms of the hidden curriculum.
Design Semistructured interviews with individual students.
Setting One medical school in the United Kingdom.
Participants 36 undergraduate medical students, across all stages of their training, selected by random and quota sampling, stratified by sex and ethnicity, with the whole medical school population as a sampling frame.
Main outcome measures Medical students' experiences and perceptions of the quality of teaching received during their undergraduate training.
Results Students reported many examples of positive role models and effective, approachable teachers, with valued characteristics perceived according to traditional gendered stereotypes. They also described a hierarchical and competitive atmosphere in the medical school, in which haphazard instruction and teaching by humiliation occur, especially during the clinical training years.
Conclusions Following on from the recent reforms of the manifest curriculum, the hidden curriculum now needs attention to produce the necessary fundamental changes in the culture of undergraduate medical education.
To compare the academic performance of students who entered family medicine residency programs with that of students who entered other disciplines and discern whether or not family physicians are as academically talented as their colleagues in other specialties.
Retrospective quantitative study.
University of Calgary in Alberta.
Three graduating classes of students (2004 to 2006) from the University of Calgary medical school.
Main outcome measures
Student performance on various undergraduate certifying examinations in years 1, 2, and 3, along with third-year in-training evaluation reports and total score on the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I.
Complete data were available for 99% of graduates (N = 295). In the analysis, residency program (family medicine [n = 96] versus non–family medicine [n = 199]) served as the independent variable. Using a 1-way multivariate ANOVA (analysis of variance), no significant difference among any of the mean performance scores was observed (F5289 = 1.73, P > .05). Students who entered family medicine were also well represented within the top 10 rankings of the various performance measures.
The academic performance of students who pursued careers in family medicine did not differ from that of students who chose other specialties. Unfounded negativity toward family medicine has important societal implications, especially at a time when the gap between the number of family physicians and patients seeking primary care services appears to be widening.
This article describes the 6-week Health Careers Enhancement Program for Minorities inaugurated in the summer of 1988 at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The program was developed for minority and economically disadvantaged college undergraduates and postbaccalaureate premedical students. Its major objectives were to stimulate and maintain the interest of minority students in health careers and prepare these students for entry into health professions and for successful completion of these programs. A unique aspect of the program was academic outreach. Case Western Reserve University minority alumni and community minority physicians participated as clinical role models, mentors, and teachers; community and state minority leaders served as inspirational speakers and role models. The program was designed not only to incorporate cognitive and skill development activities, but to also include features distinctive to the Case Western Reserve University curriculum, specifically, organ system teaching, preceptor groups, medical apprenticeship program, and student tutors.
A related series of studies, most of which have been published previously, is described. These studies form a coherent whole and demonstrate the development of a theme, namely, the identification of factors in the student and the medical school which, in their interaction, influenced undergraduate academic performance at one medical school. In the population concerned no reliable positive or negative correlation could be demonstrated between cognitive ability and academic performance, when the former was measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Medical College Admission Test, and the latter by the current assessment methods of the medical school. Other factors, including socioeconomic and individual personality variables, are at present under investigation as to their effect on academic achievement. It is emphasized that the results of these studies cannot be regarded as valid for all medical schools, but the methods employed can be generalized.
Objective To identify potential predictors of undergraduate students who struggle during their medical training.
Design Case-control study. Cases were students who had experienced academic or personal difficulties that affected their progression on the course (“strugglers”). Controls were selected at random from the corresponding year cohorts, using a ratio of four controls for each struggler.
Setting University of Nottingham Medical School.
Participants Students who entered the course over five consecutive years.
Main outcome measures Likelihood ratios for independent risk factors for struggling on the course
Results 10-15% of each year's student intake were identified as strugglers. Significant independent predictors of students being in this category were negative comments in the academic reference (likelihood ratio 2.25, 95% confidence intervals 1.44 to 3.50), lower mean examination grade at A level (2.19, 1.37 to 3.51), and the late offer of a place (1.98, 1.19 to 3.30). Male sex was a less significant risk factor (1.70, 1.09 to 2.65) as was a lower grade at GCSE science (2.13, 1.12 to 4.05). In UK students whose ethnicity was known, not being white was a significant predictor of struggling (2.77, 1.52 to 5.05) but the presence of negative comments was not. Age at entry to the course and the possession of a previous degree were not predictive.
Conclusions Our results support retention of existing selection practices relating to academic achievement and critical review of students' references. We plan to undertake further investigation of the reasons why some students, including men, those with late offers and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, may do less well on the Nottingham course.
A summer preview program was designed to enhance the academic performance of minority students in medical school. In the five-week program the students met from 8:00 AM to noon, five days a week. The two components of the program were study skills and selected basic science topics deemed critical for success in the first year.
This paper is an analysis of three years (1980 to 1982 inclusive) of the program. Only three of the 14 participating minority students failed to complete the requirements of the first year of the curriculum. In contrast, nine of the 11 nonparticipating minority students did not complete the requirements for the first year. The conclusion is that the program can enhance the academic performance of minority students in the first year of the medical school curriculum.
Although several studies have examined the relationship between minority students' admissions profiles and performance in the preclinical curriculum, there is a dearth of information about the ability of admissions variables to predict performance in the clerkships and on National Boards, Part II. Consistent with other research, a study of 59 minority students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT) chemistry score is the most consistent predictor of performance on internal examinations in years 1 and 2, and on National Boards, Part I. On the Part II examination, however, the only significant correlation is with the MCAT reading score, while the MCAT quantitative score and the recommendation of the premedical advisor are the best predictors of clerkship grades. Since students' mean MCATs and grade point averages (GPAs) are similar to those of all minority students accepted to medical schools in 1982, these findings may be generalized to that larger population.
Medical education is perceived as being stressful, and a high level of stress may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and learning of students in a medical school. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of stress among medical students and to observe an association between the levels of stress and their academic performance, including the sources of their stress. All the medical students from year one to year five levels from the College of Medicine, King Saud University, were enrolled in the study. The study was conducted using Kessler10 psychological distress (K10) inventory, which measures the level of stress according to none, mild, moderate, and severe categories. The prevalence of stress was measured and compared with the five study variables, such as gender, academic year, academic grades, regularity to course attendance, and perceived physical problems. The response rate among the study subjects was 87% (n=892). The total prevalence of stress was 63%, and the prevalence of severe stress was 25%. The prevalence of stress was higher (p<0.5) among females (75.7%) than among males (57%) (odds ratio=2.3, χ2=27.2, p<0.0001). The stress significantly decreased as the year of study increased, except for the final year. The study variables, including being female (p<0.0001), year of study (p<0.001), and presence of perceived physical problems (p<0.0001), were found as independent significant risk factors for the outcome variables of stress. Students' grade point average (academic score) or regularity to attend classes was not significantly associated with the stress level. The prevalence of stress was higher during the initial three years of study and among the female students. Physical problems are associated with high stress levels. Preventive mental health services, therefore, could be made an integral part of routine clinical services for medical students, especially in the initial academic years, to prevent such occurrence.
Academic achievements; Cross-sectional studies; Impact studies; Medical education; Stress; Saudi Arabia
In 1998, a new selection process which utilised an aptitude test and an interview in addition to previous academic achievement was introduced into an Australian undergraduate medical course.
To test the outcomes of the selection criteria over an 11-year period.
1174 students who entered the course from secondary school and who enrolled in the MBBS from 1999 through 2009 were studied in relation to specific course outcomes. Regression analyses using entry scores, sex and age as independent variables were tested for their relative value in predicting subsequent academic performance in the 6-year course. The main outcome measures were assessed by weighted average mark for each academic year level; together with results in specific units, defined as either ‘knowledge'-based or ‘clinically’ based.
Previous academic performance and female sex were the major independent positive predictors of performance in the course. The interview score showed positive predictive power during the latter years of the course and in a range of ‘clinically' based units. This relationship was mediated predominantly by the score for communication skills.
Results support combining prior academic achievement with the assessment of communication skills in a structured interview as selection criteria into this undergraduate medical course.
Despite recommendations that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) familiarization should be offered to UK medical students, in Wales little such teaching was offered. We decided to assess medical students’ knowledge of CAMs, perceived training needs in CAMs, their view of its role in the National Health Service (NHS) and current teaching given. Analysis of data from a questionnaire given to medical students and direct questioning of senior academic medical school staff in Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools was carried out. The participants comprised 78 first year medical students in the undergraduate entry program in Cardiff and 58 first year medical students from the graduate entry program in Swansea. Senior academic medical school staff at Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools were asked about current CAM teaching. Results revealed that 32% of undergraduate entry students (UGES) had previous knowledge of CAMs compared with 51% of graduate entry students (GES). Of the UGES, 62% believed they should be taught about CAM's compared with 94% of GES. Of UGES 31% felt that CAMs have a role in the NHS compared with 50% of GES. None of the students had received teaching about CAMs and little formal CAM teaching is currently included in the curricula at each site. The majority of medical students in Wales would like to receive CAM teaching and significant numbers support a role for CAMs in the NHS. Little formal teaching is currently provided.
CAM teaching; medical students; integrated healthcare
The inclusion of family medicine in medical school curricula is essential for producing competent general practitioners. The aim of this study is to evaluate a task-based, community oriented teaching model of family medicine for undergraduate students in Iraqi medical schools.
An innovative training model in family medicine was developed based upon tasks regularly performed by family physicians providing health care services at the Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) in Mosul, Iraq. Participants were medical students enrolled in their final clinical year. Students were assigned to one of two groups. The implementation group (28 students) was exposed to the experimental model and the control group (56 students) received the standard teaching curriculum. The study took place at the Mosul College of Medicine and at the Al-Hadba PHCC in Mosul, Iraq, during the academic year 1999–2000. Pre- and post-exposure evaluations comparing the intervention group with the control group were conducted using a variety of assessment tools.
The primary endpoints were improvement in knowledge of family medicine and development of essential performance skills. Results showed that the implementation group experienced a significant increase in knowledge and performance skills after exposure to the model and in comparison with the control group. Assessment of the model by participating students revealed a high degree of satisfaction with the planning, organization, and implementation of the intervention activities. Students also highly rated the relevancy of the intervention for future work.
A model on PHCC training in family medicine is essential for all Iraqi medical schools. The model is to be implemented by various relevant departments until Departments of Family medicine are established.
This study examines cognitive and noncognitive selection variables as predictors of multiple criteria of performance for minority and nonminority students entering the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine between 1972 and 1977. Data analysis aims at identifying characteristics associated with success in the crucial first two years of the combined BA/MD program. Pearson product moment correlations and multiple regression equations have been determined for all selection variables and three criteria measures. A number of nontraditional variables are significantly predictive of minority student performance. The cognitive variables of aptitude test and high school science/mathematics preparation are significant predictors of all three performance measures in both racial groups. The data support the position that separate equations are not necessary to predict performance of minority and nonminority students, but that admission committees, when selecting minority students, should recognize both personal attributes and academic preparation as indicators of potential success or failure.
Teaching Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) helps medical students to develop their decision making skills based on current best evidence, especially when it is taught in a clinical context. Few medical schools integrate Evidence Based Medicine into undergraduate curriculum, and those who do so, do it at the academic years only as a standalone (classroom) teaching but not at the clinical years. The College of Medicine at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences was established in January 2004. The college adopted a four-year Problem Based Learning web-based curriculum. The objective of this paper is to present our experience in the integration of the EBM in the clinical phase of the medical curriculum. We teach EBM in 3 steps: first step is teaching EBM concepts and principles, second is teaching the appraisal and search skills, and the last step is teaching it in clinical rotations. Teaching EBM at clinical years consists of 4 student-centered tutorials. In conclusion, EBM may be taught in a systematic, patient centered approach at clinical rounds. This paper could serve as a model of Evidence Based Medicine integration into the clinical phase of a medical curriculum.
Clinical years; evidence based medicine; medical curriculum; medical education
The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) was introduced in 2006 as an additional tool for the selection of medical students. It tests mental ability in four distinct domains (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Decision Analysis), and the results are available to students and admissions panels in advance of the selection process. As yet the predictive validity of the test against course performance is largely unknown.
The study objective was to determine whether UKCAT scores predict performance during the first two years of the 5-year undergraduate medical course at Nottingham.
We studied a single cohort of students, who entered Nottingham Medical School in October 2007 and had taken the UKCAT. We used linear regression analysis to identify independent predictors of marks for different parts of the 2-year preclinical course.
Data were available for 204/260 (78%) of the entry cohort. The UKCAT total score had little predictive value. Quantitative Reasoning was a significant independent predictor of course marks in Theme A ('The Cell'), (p = 0.005), and Verbal Reasoning predicted Theme C ('The Community') (p < 0.001), but otherwise the effects were slight or non-existent.
This limited study from a single entry cohort at one medical school suggests that the predictive value of the UKCAT, particularly the total score, is low. Section scores may predict success in specific types of course assessment.
The ultimate test of validity will not be available for some years, when current cohorts of students graduate. However, if this test of mental ability does not predict preclinical performance, it is arguably less likely to predict the outcome in the clinical years. Further research from medical schools with different types of curriculum and assessment is needed, with longitudinal studies throughout the course.
Over two-thirds of UK medical schools are augmenting their selection procedures for medical students by using the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which employs tests of cognitive and non-cognitive personal qualities, but clear evidence of the tests’ predictive validity is lacking. This study explores whether academic performance and professional behaviours that are important in a health professional context can be predicted by these measures, when taken before or very early in the medical course.
This prospective cohort study follows the progress of the entire student cohort who entered Hull York Medical School in September 2007, having taken the UKCAT cognitive tests in 2006 and the non-cognitive tests a year later. This paper reports on the students’ first and second academic years of study. The main outcome measures were regular, repeated tutor assessment of individual students’ interpersonal skills and professional behaviour, and annual examination performance in the three domains of recall and application of knowledge, evaluation of data, and communication and practical clinical skills. The relationships between non-cognitive test scores, cognitive test scores, tutor assessments and examination results were explored using the Pearson product–moment correlations for each group of data; the data for students obtaining the top and bottom 20% of the summative examination results were compared using Analysis of Variance.
Personal qualities measured by non-cognitive tests showed a number of statistically significant relationships with ratings of behaviour made by tutors, with performance in each year’s objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), and with themed written summative examination marks in each year. Cognitive ability scores were also significantly related to each year’s examination results, but seldom to professional behaviours. The top 20% of examination achievers could be differentiated from the bottom 20% on both non-cognitive and cognitive measures.
This study shows numerous significant relationships between both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores, academic examination scores and indicators of professional behaviours in medical students. This suggests that measurement of non-cognitive personal qualities in applicants to medical school could make a useful contribution to selection and admission decisions. Further research is required in larger representative groups, and with more refined predictor measures and behavioural assessment methods, to establish beyond doubt the incremental validity of such measures over conventional cognitive assessments.