Predicting minority students' success in medical school

Acad Med. 1990 Mar;65(3):161-6. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199003000-00007.


Despite recent attention to minority student recruitment and retention, data on predicting the success of minority medical students are scarce. Traditional predictors (college grades and scores on the Medical College Admission Test) have modest correlations with medical school grades and scores on the National Board of Medical Examiners examination for minority students. Nonetheless, admission committees also consider nontraditional variables when selecting minority students. Measures of nontraditional variables seem to assess types of intelligence not covered by traditional means. A system of organizing nontraditional or noncognitive variables into eight dimensions is proposed. The dimensions are self-concept, realistic, self-appraisal, understanding and dealing with racism, long-range goals, having a strong support person, showing leadership, having community involvement, and nontraditional knowledge acquired. Further, assessment should place more emphasis on recognizing and defining problems and on performance rather than knowledge. Combining traditional and nontraditional methods is best in selecting minority students, and sufficiently well developed measures exist in each area to make this a practical recommendation for any admission program.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / standards*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Goals
  • Intelligence Tests / classification
  • Leadership
  • Minority Groups*
  • Prejudice
  • Probability
  • Reinforcement, Social
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Responsibility
  • Social Support