Association Between Undergraduate Performance Predictors and Academic and Clinical Performance of Osteopathic Medical Students

Farshad Agahi, MD; Mark R. Speicher, PhD, MHA; and Grace Cisek, EdD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: August 22, 2017

Accepted: September 13, 2017

Published: February 1, 2018

J Osteopath Med; 118(2): 106-114

Context: Medical schools use a variety of preadmission indices to select potential students. These indices generally include undergraduate grade point average (GPA), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, and preadmission interviews.

Objectives: To investigate whether the admission indices used by Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine are associated with the academic and clinical performance of their students.

Methods: Associations between the prematriculation variables of undergraduate science GPA, undergraduate total GPA, MCAT component scores, and interview scores and the academic and clinical variables of the first- and second-year medical school GPA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 and Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE) total and discipline scores, scores in clinical rotations for osteopathic competencies, COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation passage, and match status were evaluated. Two-tailed Pearson product-moment correlations with a Bonferroni adjustment were used to examine these relationships.

Results: The traditional predictors of science and total undergraduate GPA as well as total and component MCAT scores had small to moderate associations with first- and second-year GPA, as well as COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE total scores. Of all predictors, only the MCAT biological sciences score had a statistically significant correlation with failure of the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation examination (P=.009). Average interview scores were associated only with the osteopathic competency of medical knowledge (r=0.233; n=209; P=.001), as assessed by clerkship preceptors. No predictors were associated with scores in objective structured clinical encounters or with failing to match to a residency position.

Conclusions: The data indicate that traditional predictors of academic performance (undergraduate GPA, undergraduate science GPA, and MCAT scores) have small to moderate association with medical school grades and performance on COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE. This finding requires additional research into the value of the interview in the medical school admissions process and the availability of alternatives that allow better prediction and assessment of applicant performance.

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