skip to main content skip to footer

The Role of Noncognitive Measures in Medical School Admissions

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Bureau of Health Manpower, Human Resources Administration, Admission Criteria, Graduate Medical Education, Medical Schools, Noncognitive Assessment


The value of noncognitive measures in medical school admissions was assessed in light of the existing literature. These measures appear to have limited usefulness in predicting success in academic work, but may be valuable in forecasting performance in clinical training and as a physician, as well as choice of type and location of practice. Noncognitive measures are useful as predictors of such criteria and may be valuable in forecasting the decisions of admissions committees; their use as moderator variables is problematic. Newer personality and interest inventories along with biographical questionnaires are the most promising measures. Older interest inventories may have some value, but traditional personality inventories and projective techniques as well as interviews seem to have limited usefulness. The merit of the other measures is uncertain: letters of recommendation are probably of little use, but cognitive style tests, objective performance devices, and special adaptations of projective techniques deserve more attention. The evaluation of noncognitive measures is hampered by inadequate criteria. Distortion by examinees threatens all self-report measures, but can be controlled. (25pp.)

Read More