Relative progress and academic performance of graduate vs undergraduate entrants to an Australian medical school

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Abstract

Background: Whether graduate entrants to medical school perform better academically than undergraduate entrants remains controversial. Differences in the discipline backgrounds of graduates may, at least in part, have accounted for differences in the results of comparative studies reported to date. This study aimed to address the dual issues of whether academic performance and progression rates were different between GE and UG students and the extent to which the discipline background of GE students may underpin any differences observed.

Methods: Relative academic performance as well as indicators of student progression (supplementary examinations, repeat years, leave of absence, withdrawal from the programme) were compared between graduate entrants (GE) (N = 410) and both school leaver entrants (SLE) (N = 865) and non-standard entrants (some prior tertiary education) (NSE) (N = 148) who combined for the final 4 yr. of a 6 yr. MBBS undergraduate programme in 8 consecutive cohorts from 2006 to 2013 in Western Australia.

Results: Examination scores were generally at or very close to a distinction grade or higher across all groups. Higher mean examination scores were seen for GE versus both SLE and NSE in the first 2 years with no significant differences in the final 2 years. GE from biological science / science backgrounds (N = 241) or physical science backgrounds (N = 26) performed the same as SLE and NSE throughout the programme. GE with a health / allied health background (N = 91), however, performed better throughout. They also performed better when compared to their GE counterparts from a humanities (N = 32) or a biological science / science background. GE had increased odds of withdrawing when compared to SLE (OR 2.50, 95% CI 1.30, 4.79, P = 0.006), but not compared to NSE. NSE had increased odds of repeating at least one level when compared to either GE (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.21, 6.21, P = 0.016) or SLE (OR 4.10, 95% CI 1.93, 8.70, P <0.001). There were no differences by entry category in the odds of sitting at least one supplementary examination during the programme. There was an increase in the odds of taking at least one leave of absence in both SLE (OR 2.55, 95% CI 1.79, 3.63, P <0.001) and NSE (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.50, 4.07, P <0.001) compared to GE.

Conclusions: Better academic performance by GE compared to SLE and NSE was predominantly due to higher scores for GE with a health / allied health background. GE were also less likely to have impeded progress during the course.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2019

Cite this

@article{110e69ed2f684aff8ee10c233b822de6,
title = "Relative progress and academic performance of graduate vs undergraduate entrants to an Australian medical school",
abstract = "Background: Whether graduate entrants to medical school perform better academically than undergraduate entrants remains controversial. Differences in the discipline backgrounds of graduates may, at least in part, have accounted for differences in the results of comparative studies reported to date. This study aimed to address the dual issues of whether academic performance and progression rates were different between GE and UG students and the extent to which the discipline background of GE students may underpin any differences observed.Methods: Relative academic performance as well as indicators of student progression (supplementary examinations, repeat years, leave of absence, withdrawal from the programme) were compared between graduate entrants (GE) (N = 410) and both school leaver entrants (SLE) (N = 865) and non-standard entrants (some prior tertiary education) (NSE) (N = 148) who combined for the final 4 yr. of a 6 yr. MBBS undergraduate programme in 8 consecutive cohorts from 2006 to 2013 in Western Australia.Results: Examination scores were generally at or very close to a distinction grade or higher across all groups. Higher mean examination scores were seen for GE versus both SLE and NSE in the first 2 years with no significant differences in the final 2 years. GE from biological science / science backgrounds (N = 241) or physical science backgrounds (N = 26) performed the same as SLE and NSE throughout the programme. GE with a health / allied health background (N = 91), however, performed better throughout. They also performed better when compared to their GE counterparts from a humanities (N = 32) or a biological science / science background. GE had increased odds of withdrawing when compared to SLE (OR 2.50, 95{\%} CI 1.30, 4.79, P = 0.006), but not compared to NSE. NSE had increased odds of repeating at least one level when compared to either GE (OR 2.74, 95{\%} CI 1.21, 6.21, P = 0.016) or SLE (OR 4.10, 95{\%} CI 1.93, 8.70, P <0.001). There were no differences by entry category in the odds of sitting at least one supplementary examination during the programme. There was an increase in the odds of taking at least one leave of absence in both SLE (OR 2.55, 95{\%} CI 1.79, 3.63, P <0.001) and NSE (OR 2.47, 95{\%} CI 1.50, 4.07, P <0.001) compared to GE.Conclusions: Better academic performance by GE compared to SLE and NSE was predominantly due to higher scores for GE with a health / allied health background. GE were also less likely to have impeded progress during the course.",
keywords = "Medical students, Graduate entry, Undergraduate entry, Academic performance, Progression, STUDENT PERFORMANCE, ENTRY, UNIVERSITY, PROGRAMS, SCIENCE, AGE",
author = "Puddey, {Ian B.} and Annette Mercer and Carr, {Sandra E.}",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1186/s12909-019-1584-0",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
journal = "BMC Medical Education",
issn = "1472-6920",
publisher = "BioMed Central",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Relative progress and academic performance of graduate vs undergraduate entrants to an Australian medical school

AU - Puddey, Ian B.

AU - Mercer, Annette

AU - Carr, Sandra E.

PY - 2019/5/22

Y1 - 2019/5/22

N2 - Background: Whether graduate entrants to medical school perform better academically than undergraduate entrants remains controversial. Differences in the discipline backgrounds of graduates may, at least in part, have accounted for differences in the results of comparative studies reported to date. This study aimed to address the dual issues of whether academic performance and progression rates were different between GE and UG students and the extent to which the discipline background of GE students may underpin any differences observed.Methods: Relative academic performance as well as indicators of student progression (supplementary examinations, repeat years, leave of absence, withdrawal from the programme) were compared between graduate entrants (GE) (N = 410) and both school leaver entrants (SLE) (N = 865) and non-standard entrants (some prior tertiary education) (NSE) (N = 148) who combined for the final 4 yr. of a 6 yr. MBBS undergraduate programme in 8 consecutive cohorts from 2006 to 2013 in Western Australia.Results: Examination scores were generally at or very close to a distinction grade or higher across all groups. Higher mean examination scores were seen for GE versus both SLE and NSE in the first 2 years with no significant differences in the final 2 years. GE from biological science / science backgrounds (N = 241) or physical science backgrounds (N = 26) performed the same as SLE and NSE throughout the programme. GE with a health / allied health background (N = 91), however, performed better throughout. They also performed better when compared to their GE counterparts from a humanities (N = 32) or a biological science / science background. GE had increased odds of withdrawing when compared to SLE (OR 2.50, 95% CI 1.30, 4.79, P = 0.006), but not compared to NSE. NSE had increased odds of repeating at least one level when compared to either GE (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.21, 6.21, P = 0.016) or SLE (OR 4.10, 95% CI 1.93, 8.70, P <0.001). There were no differences by entry category in the odds of sitting at least one supplementary examination during the programme. There was an increase in the odds of taking at least one leave of absence in both SLE (OR 2.55, 95% CI 1.79, 3.63, P <0.001) and NSE (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.50, 4.07, P <0.001) compared to GE.Conclusions: Better academic performance by GE compared to SLE and NSE was predominantly due to higher scores for GE with a health / allied health background. GE were also less likely to have impeded progress during the course.

AB - Background: Whether graduate entrants to medical school perform better academically than undergraduate entrants remains controversial. Differences in the discipline backgrounds of graduates may, at least in part, have accounted for differences in the results of comparative studies reported to date. This study aimed to address the dual issues of whether academic performance and progression rates were different between GE and UG students and the extent to which the discipline background of GE students may underpin any differences observed.Methods: Relative academic performance as well as indicators of student progression (supplementary examinations, repeat years, leave of absence, withdrawal from the programme) were compared between graduate entrants (GE) (N = 410) and both school leaver entrants (SLE) (N = 865) and non-standard entrants (some prior tertiary education) (NSE) (N = 148) who combined for the final 4 yr. of a 6 yr. MBBS undergraduate programme in 8 consecutive cohorts from 2006 to 2013 in Western Australia.Results: Examination scores were generally at or very close to a distinction grade or higher across all groups. Higher mean examination scores were seen for GE versus both SLE and NSE in the first 2 years with no significant differences in the final 2 years. GE from biological science / science backgrounds (N = 241) or physical science backgrounds (N = 26) performed the same as SLE and NSE throughout the programme. GE with a health / allied health background (N = 91), however, performed better throughout. They also performed better when compared to their GE counterparts from a humanities (N = 32) or a biological science / science background. GE had increased odds of withdrawing when compared to SLE (OR 2.50, 95% CI 1.30, 4.79, P = 0.006), but not compared to NSE. NSE had increased odds of repeating at least one level when compared to either GE (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.21, 6.21, P = 0.016) or SLE (OR 4.10, 95% CI 1.93, 8.70, P <0.001). There were no differences by entry category in the odds of sitting at least one supplementary examination during the programme. There was an increase in the odds of taking at least one leave of absence in both SLE (OR 2.55, 95% CI 1.79, 3.63, P <0.001) and NSE (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.50, 4.07, P <0.001) compared to GE.Conclusions: Better academic performance by GE compared to SLE and NSE was predominantly due to higher scores for GE with a health / allied health background. GE were also less likely to have impeded progress during the course.

KW - Medical students

KW - Graduate entry

KW - Undergraduate entry

KW - Academic performance

KW - Progression

KW - STUDENT PERFORMANCE

KW - ENTRY

KW - UNIVERSITY

KW - PROGRAMS

KW - SCIENCE

KW - AGE

U2 - 10.1186/s12909-019-1584-0

DO - 10.1186/s12909-019-1584-0

M3 - Article

VL - 19

JO - BMC Medical Education

JF - BMC Medical Education

SN - 1472-6920

M1 - 159

ER -