The Effect of Differential Weighting of Academics, Experiences, and Competencies Measured by Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) on Race and Ethnicity of Cohorts Accepted to One Medical School
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PURPOSE: To examine whether academic scores, experience scores, and Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) core personal competencies scores vary across applicants' self-reported ethnicities, and whether changes in weighting of scores would alter the proportion of ethnicities underrepresented in medicine (URIM) in the entering class composition. METHOD: This study analyzed retrospective data from 1,339 applicants to the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School interviewed for entering classes 2011-2013. Data analyzed included two academic scores-grade point average (GPA) and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)-service/clinical/research (SCR) scores, and MMI scores. Independent-samples t tests evaluated whether URIM ethnicities differed from non-URIM across GPA, MCAT, SCR, and MMI scores. A series of "what-if" analyses were conducted to determine whether alternative weighting methods would have changed final admissions decisions and entering class composition. RESULTS: URIM applicants had significantly lower GPAs (P < .001), MCATs (P < .001), and SCR scores (P < .001). However, this pattern was not found with MMI score (non-URIM 10.4 [1.6], URIM 10.4 [1.3], P = .55). Alternative weighting analyses show that including academic/experiential scores impacts the percentage of URIM acceptances. URIM acceptance rate declined from 57% (100% MMI) to 43% (10% GPA/10% MCAT/10% SCR/70% MMI), 39% (30% GPA/70% MMI), to as low as 22% (50% MCAT/50% MMI). CONCLUSIONS: Sole reliance on the MMI for final admissions decisions, after threshold academic/experiential preparation are met, promotes diversity with the accepted applicant pool; weighting of "the numbers" or what is written about the application may decrease the acceptance of URIM applicants.
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