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Selection of medical students in Sri Lanka: time to re-think criteria?

Authors:

SN Hewage ,

Medical Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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LSS Salgado,

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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GMO Fernando,

Medical Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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PLCK Liyanage,

Medical Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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A Pathmeswaran,

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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NR de Silva

Medical Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, LK
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Abstract

Objective To examine the validity of selected entry level characteristics in relation to the GCE A/L examination as independent predictors of performance of students in medical school.

Methods A retrospective, analytical study was done at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya. Student characteristics at entry were described by sex, the average z-score, General English grade and attempt at GCE A/L examination, and average mark obtained at the English placement test on registration to medical school. Average marks at three summative examinations were used as indicators of performance in medical school. Multivariate analysis using multiple linear regression was carried out using these three outcome measures in relation to four entry point variables as predictors of performance in medical school. Causal path diagrams were constructed using standardised regression coefficients for the whole group and for male and female students separately.

Results The A/L z-score, A/L attempt and English placement test marks were all significant predictors of outcome at the First Examination. Of the variables relating to the A/L examination, the attempt had a much higher path coefficient with performance at the First Examination than the A/L z-score, as did the English marks. Separate path analyses for male and female students showed that while the significance of the relationships remained the same, the magnitude of the correlation was different.

Conclusions Students who gain admission on their 3rd attempt at the AL examination fare much worse than those admitted to medical school on their 1st attempt. Differences between sexes in examination performance are probably linked to both A/L attempt and English language proficiency.

Index words: medical students; selection criteria

DOI: 10.4038/cmj.v56i1.2891

Ceylon Medical Journal 2011; 56: 22-28

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v56i1.2891
How to Cite: Hewage, S., Salgado, L., Fernando, G., Liyanage, P., Pathmeswaran, A. and de Silva, N., 2011. Selection of medical students in Sri Lanka: time to re-think criteria?. Ceylon Medical Journal, 56(1), pp.22–28. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v56i1.2891
Published on 25 Mar 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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