Participation in a premedical summer program for underrepresented-minority students as a predictor of academic performance in the first three years of medical school: two studies

Acad Med. 1999 Apr;74(4):435-47. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199904000-00043.


Purpose: To determine whether the performances of underrepresented minority students in the Medical Education and Development Program (MEDP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Medicine (a structured, nine-week summer premedical program that simulates the medical school's first year curriculum) predicted their academic performances in the first three years of medical school.

Method: These two studies looked separately at the predictive value of students' rankings (top quarter or top half) within their MEDP cohorts. The first study involved 165 students who had participated in the MEDP from 1981 to 1990 and who then matriculated at UNC-CH. Using backward elimination logistic regression models, the author determined whether those rankings and other, more traditional academic performance predictors predicted three types of academic difficulty during the first two years of medical school: (1) required participation in summer review; (2) deceleration; and (3) dismissal. The predictive validity of each regression model was assessed by calculating the sensitivity and the positive predictive value. The second study involved 135 students who had participated in the MEDP from 1981 to 1990 and who had finished their third-year clinical clerkships at UNC-CH. Forty-four of those students had taken the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Part II examination. Using Spearman correlations, the Student t test, and the chi-square test, the author determined the simple relationships among MEDP ranking, traditional premedical academic predictors, and third-year clinical performance (as measured by clerkship grades and NBME scores). The author determined the best predictors of third-year clinical performance using stepwise backward-elimination linear regression models.

Results: In both studies, a student's ranking within his or her MEDP cohort was the strongest, if not the only, predictor of medical school academic performance.

Conclusion: These studies suggest that structured summer premedical programs such as UNC-CH's MEDP are quite good at determining whether participants will be able to handle the academic rigors of medical school.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Education, Premedical*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups / education*
  • North Carolina
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical*