About the MERAV Array

Background

The MERAV system — a screening system for graduate students applying to medical school — was developed for screening candidates for the various four-year programs.

In order to make the admissions process simpler for candidates, to reduce the number of tests they are required to take, and to limit the expenses involved, medical school faculties who instituted four-year programs took the decision to cooperate and use a common screening system for candidates. They selected NITE, the National Institute for Testing and Evaluation, to develop and administer the medical school screening process, bearing in mind NITE’s experience in developing the MOR and MIRKAM systems, which have been used since 2004 for screening candidates for six-year medical school programs.

The screening system is based on a combination of cognitive and non-cognitive assessment elements. The cognitive elements include a score in a test of scientific knowledge administered by the medical faculties and a score in an analytical reasoning test administered by NITE. Assessment of the non-cognitive personal and behavioral elements is performed in the second stage of the MERAV system, to which the candidates with the highest scores in the knowledge and analytical reasoning test are invited.

 

Variables assessed in the MERAV system

The analytical reasoning test is used for a standard and uniform assessment of the cognitive skills of candidates from differing academic backgrounds. The test measures logical comprehension and analytical skills.

The second part of the MERAV system is identical to the screening systems for the six-year programs and includes a personal/biographical questionnaire and assessment center.

Biographical questionnaire - a questionnaire in which candidates are asked about past events and experiences. Analysis of past events and experiences permits the prediction of future behavioral patterns and handling techniques.

Assessment center - a series of stations in which the candidate describes behavioral patterns, discusses ethical questions with the accessors and functions in simulations. The simulations allow a practical assessment of the examinee’s behavior without relying on self-reporting.

These assessment tools measure the following variables:

  • Level of inter-personal communication - conveying messages, people skills, honesty, attentiveness and sensitivity.
  • Level of handling situations, handling problems.
  • Level of maturity and sophistication, assessment and comprehension of a situation, awareness, self-criticism and recognition of complexity.

The candidates’ scores in the MERAV system and the knowledge test are weighted into a final score that determines which candidates are accepted by the medical schools.

 

Development and Nature of the System

In order to develop the MOR, MIRKAM, and MERAV assessment centers, doctors on the faculty of medical schools and evaluation and assessment experts from NITE defined the characteristics of the role of doctor. Subsequently they defined behavioral features for each relevant characteristic, to enable them to be assessed reliably, and assessment tools via which these features could be measured.

The MOR, MIRKAM, and MERAV systems are high-stakes tests, and accordingly are required to meet professional standards of reliability, validity and fairness. The score in the MOR, MIRKAM, and MERAV systems is determined by expert assessors using standardized and structured assessment forms to analyze a large number of independent observations, in order to enable systematic weighting of the observed data to create a comparable final score. This method improves the reliability and validity of the assessment and reduces bias in appraisal and evaluation.