Perspective: Medical school admissions and noncognitive testing: Some open questions
School Admission Criteria
Medical schools use a variety of criteria in selecting applicants for admission, attempting to assess both the academic preparation and the personal characteristics suitable for a career in medicine. While assessing academic preparation is fairly straightforward, assessing applicants' personal characteristics is difficult and controversial. The possibility of implementing standardized testing of personal characteristics, so-called "noncognitive testing," has been proposed as part of the admissions process. Such a proposal, however, raises numerous questions about the validity, fairness, and cost of such testing and the impact of commercial test-preparation services on test performance and reliability. Therefore, before noncognitive testing is adopted for screening applicants to medical school, open discussion among all stakeholders in the admissions process is critically important.