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The ability of ‘non-cognitive’ traits to predict undergraduate performance in medical schools: a national linkage study

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Education, May 2018
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Title
The ability of ‘non-cognitive’ traits to predict undergraduate performance in medical schools: a national linkage study
Published in
BMC Medical Education, May 2018
DOI 10.1186/s12909-018-1201-7
Pubmed ID
Authors

Gabrielle M. Finn, Lazaro Mwandigha, Lewis W. Paton, Paul A. Tiffin

Abstract

In addition to the evaluation of educational attainment and intellectual ability there has been interest in the potential to select medical school applicants on non-academic qualities. Consequently, a battery of self-report measures concerned with assessing 'non-cognitive' traits was piloted as part of the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) administration to evaluate their potential to be used in selection. The four non-cognitive instruments piloted were: 1) the Libertarian-communitarian scale, (2) The NACE (narcissism, aloofness, confidence and empathy, (3) the MEARS (Managing emotions and resilience scale; self-esteem, optimism, control, self-discipline, emotional-nondefensiveness and faking, and (4) an abridged version of instruments (1) and (2) combined. Non-cognitive scores and sociodemographic characteristics were available for 14,387 applicants. A series of univariable and multivariable analyses were conducted in order to assess the ability of the non-cognitive scores to predict knowledge and skills-based performance, as well as the odds of passing each academic year at first attempt. Non-cognitive scores and medical performance were standardised within cohorts. The scores on the non-cognitive scales showed only very small (magnitude of standardised betas< 0.2), though sometimes statistically significant (p < 0.01) univariable associations with subsequent performance on knowledge or skills-based assessments. The only statistically significant association between the non-cognitive scores and the probability of passing an academic year at first attempt was the narcissism score from one the abridged tests (OR 0.84,95% confidence intervals 0.71 to 0.97, p = 0.02). Our findings are consistent with previously published research. The tests had a very limited ability to predict undergraduate academic performance, though further research on identifying narcissism in medical students may be warranted. However, the validity of such self-report tools in high-stakes settings may be affected, making such instruments unlikely to add value within the selection process.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 77 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 77 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 14 18%
Researcher 9 12%
Student > Bachelor 6 8%
Student > Postgraduate 4 5%
Student > Ph. D. Student 4 5%
Other 14 18%
Unknown 26 34%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 13 17%
Psychology 12 16%
Social Sciences 4 5%
Mathematics 3 4%
Nursing and Health Professions 2 3%
Other 10 13%
Unknown 33 43%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 May 2018.
All research outputs
#9,906,178
of 12,942,450 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Education
#1,415
of 1,849 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#186,317
of 269,249 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Education
#1
of 1 outputs
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