Medical School Admissions
Screening for study in medical schools is necessary because of the huge demand for these courses and the small number of places, owing to the medical schools’ budgetary and logistic constraints and a lack of internship placings. The institutions of study screen applicants to courses in order to accept the candidates with the best chance of succeeding in their studies and with the talents required for functioning successfully in the medical profession.
Screening for the four-year medical school programs combines assessment of cognitive elements (comprehensive score (sechem) from the bagrut and the Psychometric Test), and assessment of non-cognitive elements (based on behavioral analysis). The goal of the assessment of cognitive elements is to create a standard and uniform assessment score for candidates from differing academic backgrounds. The assessment of non-cognitive variables is the same as that for the six-year programs.
Until about 15 years ago the medical schools in Israel would conduct an extended interview, usually of a single candidate, as part of the admissions process. The principal goal of the interview was to eliminate problematical candidates, and admission was chiefly based on bagrut (high school matriculation) scores and the Psychometric Test. Many studies have concluded that a non-structured interview is an unreliable measurement tool, and that it is also unfair, since it is not standardized and objective and the assessor’s decisions are vulnerable to bias. Furthermore, one or two observations are not sufficiently reliable to be used as the basis of high-stakes decisions. In the light of these studies and the fact that medical schools in the western world began screening candidates through assessment centers, the decision was made to use assessment centers in the screening process for most of the medical schools in Israel. Assessment centers rely on many observations and assessments, on standardized measurements and a variety of measuring tools. These features improve the quality of measurement and its reliability and validity.