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The Dean's Letter of Evaluation as a Basis for the Selection of Medical Students NBME

Carlson, Sybil B.; Frederiksen, Norman O.; Ward, William C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Board of Medical Examiners, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Thirteen-School Consortium of Medical Schools, Admission Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Letters of Recommendation, Medical Education


The Dean's letter of evaluation, as a summary of student performance in undergraduate medical education, contributes information that is potentially valuable for use in selection for graduate medical education. The dean's letters for 113 fourth-year students from ten medical schools were coded to summarize the evaluations of performance provided in the letters. The performance dimensions that were reported most frequently and consistently in this sample of letters were factor analyzed; three discriminable dimensions were found. Despite the difficulties involved in using subjective evaluations, the dean's letter appears to yield information regarding various aspects of undergraduate performance that are used with some degree of consistency across medical schools in recommending students as candidates for residencies. (17pp.)

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