Removing the interview for medical school selection is associated with gender bias among enrolled students

David Wilkinson, Mavourneen G. Casey, Diann S. Eley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To report, and determine reasons for, a change in the gender ratio observed among enrolled medical students after removal of the interview from the selection process. Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional study of 4051 students admitted to the medical program at the University of Queensland between 2004 and 2012. Students are enrolled either directly as graduates or via a school-leaver pathway. Main outcome measures: Change in proportions of male and female students over time, and gender-specific scores in the three sections of the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test). Results: Between 2004 and 2008 (when an interview was part of the selection process), 891 enrolled students (51.4%) were male, whereas between 2009 and 2012 (no interview), 1134 (57.7%; P< 0.001) were male. This change in gender ratio was limited to domestic direct graduate-entry students, and the male proportion in this group rose from 50.9% (705 students) before the interview was removed to 64.0% (514 students; P < 0.001) after removal of the interview (reaching 73.8% in 2012). Between 2004 and 2012, male students consistently performed better than female students on GAMSAT section III (mean score, 71.5 v 68.5; P < 0.001). Conclusion: The proportion of males enrolled in the medical program at this university increased markedly after removal of the interview from the selection process. This change is limited to domestic direct graduate-entry students, and seems to be due to higher scores by male students in section III of the GAMSAT. The interview may play an important role in ensuring gender equity in selection, and medical schools should carefully monitor the consequences of changes to selection policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-99
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume200
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

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