Adapting the Admissions Interview During COVID-19: A Comparison of In-Person and Video-Based Interview Validity Evidence
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COVID-19 physical distancing limited many medical schools' abilities to conduct in-person interviews for the 2020 admissions cycle. The University of Toronto (U of T) Temerty Faculty of Medicine was already in the midst of its interview process, with two-thirds of applicants having completed the in-person modified personal interview (MPI). As the university and surrounding region were shut down, the shift was made in the middle of the application cycle to a semisynchronous video-based MPI interview (vMPI) approach. U of T undertook the development, deployment, and evaluation of the 2 approaches mid-admissions cycle. Existing resources and tools were used to create a tailored interview process with the assistance of applicants. The vMPI was similar in content and process to the MPI: a 4-station interview with each station mapped to attributes relevant to medical school success. Instead of live interviews, applicants recorded 5-minute responses to questions for each station using their own hardware. These responses were later assessed by raters asynchronously. Out of 627 applicants, 232 applicants completed the vMPI. Validity evidence was generated for the vMPI and compared with the MPI on the internal structure, relationship to other variables, and consequential validity, including applicant and interviewer acceptability. Overall, the vMPI demonstrated similar reliability and factor structure to the MPI. As with the MPI, applicant performance was predicted by nonacademic screening tools but not academic measures. Applicants' acceptance of the vMPI was positive. Most interviewers found the vMPI to be acceptable and reported confidence in their ratings. Continuing physical distancing concerns will require multiple options for admissions committees to select medical students. The vMPI is an example of a customized approach that schools can implement and may have advantages for selection beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Future evaluation will examine additional validity evidence for the tool.
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