Medical School Admissions: Enhancing the Reliability and Validity of an Autobiographical Screening Tool
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BACKGROUND: Most medical school applicants are screened out preinterview. Some cognitive scores available preinterview and some noncognitive scores available at interview demonstrate reasonable reliability and predictive validity. A reliable preinterview noncognitive measure would relax dependence upon screening based entirely on cognitive tendencies. METHOD: In 2005, applicants interviewing at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine completed an offsite, noninvigilated, Autobiographical Submission (ABS) preinterview and another onsite, invigilated, ABS at interview. Traditional and new ABS scoring methods were compared, with raters either evaluating all ABS questions for each candidate in turn (vertical scoring-traditional method) or evaluating all candidates for each question in turn (horizontal scoring-new method). RESULTS: The new scoring method revealed lower internal consistency and higher interrater reliability relative to the traditional method. More importantly, the new scoring method correlated better with the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) relative to the traditional method. CONCLUSIONS: The new ABS scoring method revealed greater interrater reliability and predictive capacity, thus increasing its potential as a screen for noncognitive characteristics.
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