The Predictive Validity of a Text-Based Situational Judgment Test in Undergraduate Medical and Dental School Admissions

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Abstract

Problem

Situational judgment tests (SJTs) can be used to assess the nonacademic attributes necessary for medical and dental trainees to become successful practitioners. Evidence for SJTs’ predictive validity, however, relates predominantly to selection in postgraduate settings or using video-based SJTs at the undergraduate level; it may not be directly transferable to text-based SJTs in undergraduate medical and dental school selection. This preliminary study aimed to address these gaps by assessing the validity of the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) text-based SJT.

Approach

Study participants were 218 first-year medical and dental students from four UK undergraduate schools who completed the first UKCAT text-based SJT in 2013. Outcome measures were educational supervisor ratings of in-role performance in problem-based learning tutorial sessions—mean rating across the three domains measured by the SJT (integrity, perspective taking, and team involvement) and an overall judgment of performance—collected in 2015.

Outcomes

There were significant correlations between SJT scores and both mean supervisor ratings (uncorrected r = 0.24, P < .001; corrected r = 0.34) and overall judgments (uncorrected rs = 0.16, P < .05; corrected rs = 0.20). SJT scores predicted 6% of variance in mean supervisor ratings across the three nonacademic domains.

Next Steps

The results provide evidence that a well-designed text-based SJT can be appropriately integrated, and add value to, the selection process for undergraduate medical and dental school. More evidence is needed regarding the longitudinal predictive validity of SJTs throughout medical and dental training pathways, with appropriate outcome criteria.

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