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Comparison of A level and UKCAT performance in students applying to UK medical and dental schools in 2006: cohort study.

James D, Yates J, Nicholson S - BMJ (2010)

Bottom Line: One major limitation of the study was that socioeconomic status was not volunteered by approximately 30% of the applicants.UKCAT was introduced with a high expectation of increasing the diversity and fairness in selection for UK medical and dental schools.However, it does provide a reasonable proxy for A levels in the selection process.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH. David.james@nottingham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To determine whether the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) adds value to the selection process for school leaver applicants to medical and dental school, and in particular whether UKCAT can reduce the socioeconomic bias known to affect A levels.

Design: Cohort study

Setting: Applicants to 23 UK medical and dental schools in 2006.

Participants: 9884 applicants who took the UKCAT in the UK and who achieved at least three passes at A level in their school leaving examinations (53% of all applicants).

Main outcome measures: Independent predictors of obtaining at least AAB at A level and UKCAT scores at or above the 30th centile for the cohort, for the subsections and the entire test.

Results: Independent predictors of obtaining at least AAB at A level were white ethnicity (odds ratio 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.41 to 1.77), professional or managerial background (1.39, 1.22 to 1.59), and independent or grammar schooling (2.26, 2.02 to 2.52) (all P<0.001). Independent predictors of achieving UKCAT scores at or above the 30th centile for the whole test were male sex (odd ratio 1.48, 1.32 to 1.66), white ethnicity (2.17, 1.94 to 2.43), professional or managerial background (1.34, 1.17 to 1.54), and independent or grammar schooling (1.91, 1.70 to 2.14) (all P<0.001). One major limitation of the study was that socioeconomic status was not volunteered by approximately 30% of the applicants. Those who withheld socioeconomic status data were significantly different from those who provided that information, which may have caused bias in the analysis.

Conclusions: UKCAT was introduced with a high expectation of increasing the diversity and fairness in selection for UK medical and dental schools. This study of a major subgroup of applicants in the first year of operation suggests that it has an inherent favourable bias to men and students from a higher socioeconomic class or independent or grammar schools. However, it does provide a reasonable proxy for A levels in the selection process.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Median UKCAT scores by A level band
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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fig1: Median UKCAT scores by A level band

Mentions: The figure shows the UKCAT scores achieved within each A level band. Most of the distributions were non-normal, so median scores are shown. A consistent drop in performance in the UKCAT scores occurred with each fall in A level band, and this was highly significant in all cases (P<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). The only exception to the downward trend was for abstract reasoning, in which the “BBB” group performed better than expected.


Comparison of A level and UKCAT performance in students applying to UK medical and dental schools in 2006: cohort study.

James D, Yates J, Nicholson S - BMJ (2010)

Median UKCAT scores by A level band
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2824099&req=5

fig1: Median UKCAT scores by A level band
Mentions: The figure shows the UKCAT scores achieved within each A level band. Most of the distributions were non-normal, so median scores are shown. A consistent drop in performance in the UKCAT scores occurred with each fall in A level band, and this was highly significant in all cases (P<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). The only exception to the downward trend was for abstract reasoning, in which the “BBB” group performed better than expected.

Bottom Line: One major limitation of the study was that socioeconomic status was not volunteered by approximately 30% of the applicants.UKCAT was introduced with a high expectation of increasing the diversity and fairness in selection for UK medical and dental schools.However, it does provide a reasonable proxy for A levels in the selection process.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH. David.james@nottingham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Objectives: To determine whether the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) adds value to the selection process for school leaver applicants to medical and dental school, and in particular whether UKCAT can reduce the socioeconomic bias known to affect A levels.

Design: Cohort study

Setting: Applicants to 23 UK medical and dental schools in 2006.

Participants: 9884 applicants who took the UKCAT in the UK and who achieved at least three passes at A level in their school leaving examinations (53% of all applicants).

Main outcome measures: Independent predictors of obtaining at least AAB at A level and UKCAT scores at or above the 30th centile for the cohort, for the subsections and the entire test.

Results: Independent predictors of obtaining at least AAB at A level were white ethnicity (odds ratio 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.41 to 1.77), professional or managerial background (1.39, 1.22 to 1.59), and independent or grammar schooling (2.26, 2.02 to 2.52) (all P<0.001). Independent predictors of achieving UKCAT scores at or above the 30th centile for the whole test were male sex (odd ratio 1.48, 1.32 to 1.66), white ethnicity (2.17, 1.94 to 2.43), professional or managerial background (1.34, 1.17 to 1.54), and independent or grammar schooling (1.91, 1.70 to 2.14) (all P<0.001). One major limitation of the study was that socioeconomic status was not volunteered by approximately 30% of the applicants. Those who withheld socioeconomic status data were significantly different from those who provided that information, which may have caused bias in the analysis.

Conclusions: UKCAT was introduced with a high expectation of increasing the diversity and fairness in selection for UK medical and dental schools. This study of a major subgroup of applicants in the first year of operation suggests that it has an inherent favourable bias to men and students from a higher socioeconomic class or independent or grammar schools. However, it does provide a reasonable proxy for A levels in the selection process.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus