gms | German Medical Science

17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching Medical Skills

4. - 6. April 2013, Wien, Österreich

Factors behind – Medical College Admission Test Scores


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17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching medical skills. Wien, Österreich, 04.-06.04.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. DocP05

doi: 10.3205/13grako19, urn:nbn:de:0183-13grako197

Veröffentlicht: 29. November 2013

© 2013 Habersack et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Background: The selection of students is increasingly becoming a (socio)political discussion point. Especially the selection process for medical college is criticized with regards to (un)fairness, discrimination of socially disadvantaged population groups, perpetuation of a gender gap or simply maintenance of a desired status quo [1], [2].

Methods: A systematic, critical literature search was carried out in EMBASE, Medline, Pascal, ERIC and PsyINFO. Limits were the last 10 years as well as the languages German or English. The review excludes studies that deal with drop-out and/or statistical correlations between Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) - scores and study success. Full texts were evaluated regarding methodological & theoretical rigor by means of the applicable quality checklist of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research [3].

Results: 28 publications remained for further evaluation. Four additional articles were included from the reference lists. Two articles had to be excluded due to low quality (quality score <0.75). Ultimately, 15 publications met the inclusion criteria and were subjected to further analysis and evaluation. Two factors associated with MCAT-scores are discussed in the literature:

The MCAT´s do not – and that with regards to design, construction, weighting, construction of the items and statistical depiction of results – succeed in invalidating arguments of discrimination in the broader sense [4], [5].
(The second category, discussed in the literature, comprises factors that are linked to the socio-economic status, as for example inequality of opportunities depending on the allocating college or programs and actions that are (occasionally) performed to decrease “uneven distributions” at the university or college level.

Conclusions: In order to be able to invalidate the mentioned arguments against medical college admission tests, a systematical examination of the mentioned categories is needed.


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