Equity with equality? Contextualising everyone can widen participation in medical school admissions

Journal article


Chan, P., Anthony, Anna, Quinlan, Kathleen, Smith, Sharon and Holland, Chris 2023. Equity with equality? Contextualising everyone can widen participation in medical school admissions. Medical Teacher. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159x.2023.2287982
AuthorsChan, P., Anthony, Anna, Quinlan, Kathleen, Smith, Sharon and Holland, Chris
Abstract

Widening participation outcomes in admissions to UK medical schools have not changed 2007–2018, partly due to inequity in selection. This study models the effects of changing selection, using a novel method of contextualising applicants, on widening participation. We studied 1084 English school leaver applicants to a single medical school over two years, using data from their public exams taken 2 years pre-application (GCSE) and recent admissions test (UCAT). Widening participation was defined by postcode.

We modelled two shortlists for a pre-determined number of 500; one ranked on UCAT total score, and the other on a metric that contextualised applicants’ GCSE grades against their schools’ average GCSE performance. There was a significant difference in the postcode-defined widening participation characteristics of the two shortlists; 46% by contextualisation and 32.2% by UCAT (Chisquare p < 0.00001). As widening participation covers 42% of postcodes, the “contextualise everyone” method achieves equity.

Conventionally, contextual admissions identify individuals belonging to under-represented groups and gives them preferential treatment. Changing the rules for everyone, by using a relative attainment instead of simple absolute attainment metric, benefits from treating applicants equally; and could promote equity through widening participation.

KeywordsSelection; Widening participation; Admission; Inequality; Equity
Year2023
JournalMedical Teacher
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0142-159X
1466-187X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159x.2023.2287982
Official URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0142159X.2023.2287982
Publication dates
Online08 Dec 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Nov 2023
Deposited20 Dec 2023
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/96q35/equity-with-equality-contextualising-everyone-can-widen-participation-in-medical-school-admissions

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