The selection process for Australian medical students needs to ensure the right methods are used to choose the right applicants, according to articles in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.
Professor David Wilkinson, and his co-authors from the School of Medicine at The University of Queensland, assessed how well prior academic performance, admission tests and interviews predicted academic performance in a graduate medical school.
They found that the school's selection criteria predicted academic performance only modestly.
Selection criteria included the student's prior degree grade point average (GPA), the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT), and an interview.
"GPA is most strongly associated with performance, followed by interview score and GAMSAT score," Prof Wilkinson says.
"As a result, the school has removed the interview from its selection process."
In a related editorial in the journal, Professor David Powis from the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle says an increasing trend to eliminate the interview process from selection criteria could be related to cost.
"Community expectations of the skills and competencies of a graduating doctor support the retention of methods to evaluate personal qualities," Prof Powis says.
"However, this approach comes at a cost. The question for medical schools is whether the effectiveness is worth the cost.
"My view is that we should continue to select medical students based on criteria that include desirable personal qualities, using procedures that have demonstrated reliability and validity."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.