The predictive validity of the aptitude test for the performance of students starting a medical curriculum
INTRODUCTION: Selection of medical students varies between German- and French-speaking Swiss faculties. Geneva introduced an aptitude test in 2010, aimed at helping decision making among students. The test was compulsory: it had to be taken by those who intended to register for medical studies. But it was not selective: there was no performance threshold under which registration would have been denied.
METHODS: We followed 353 students who took the test in 2010, checked whether they confirmed their registration for medical studies and studied their performance during year 1 (selective year).
RESULTS: The correlation between the aptitude test result and the academic performance during year 1 was 0.47 (n = 191), and weakened to 0.38 (n = 214) when including repetition of year 1. The failure to pass in year 2 or success were associated with the aptitude test results (p <0.001). Overall, 20% of the students succeeded after one year, 26% after a repeated year 1, and 53% failed and could not follow further medical studies.
CONCLUSION: Though there was a clear association between the aptitude test and academic performance, students did not appear to take into account when making their career decisions the ability of the test (as implemented in Geneva, that is, compulsory but not selective) to predict their future performance in the medical programme. The test was withdrawn after the 2012 session, but a number of issues regarding the medical selection procedure remain to be addressed.
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