What impact has the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) had on selection to undergraduate medicine and dentistry in the UK?

Greatrix, Rachel (2022) What impact has the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) had on selection to undergraduate medicine and dentistry in the UK? PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) Consortium was established in 2005 with the aims of achieving greater fairness in selection to medicine and dentistry, widening participation in medical and dental training and improving the evidence base around selection in the UK. The UKCAT was first used in selection in 2006.

This thesis aimed to determine the impact UKCAT had on selection to medicine and dentistry in the UK, to document the development of the organisation and to establish the extent to which UKCAT had achieved its original aims.

Having established the research evidence base in existence in 2005, documents were reviewed to present a picture of both organisational and test development. A further literature review specific to UKCAT was undertaken alongside a systematic review of the literature relating to the predictive validity of the test. Drawing on data collected on an annual basis from universities, how the use of the test in selection had changed was described. A qualitative analysis of interviews with admission tutors was used to further evaluate the impact of the test and in particular the extent to which UKCAT had met its original aims.

Findings indicate that UKCAT now plays a significant part in decisions made regarding most applicants to medical and dental training. The test has largely replaced the scoring of personal statements in selection processes and there is evidence that it predicts performance in medical school. The test is both an effective and efficient tool for discriminating between the many high performing candidates. Use of the test has not widened participation and universities have increasingly used the test differently in selection for this candidate subgroup.

The landscape around selection continues to develop, impacted by developments in technology, COVID, increasing applicant numbers and the potential of post-qualification admissions. Drawing on the findings in the thesis, proposals regarding the development of the test, priorities for future research and the candidate experience are put forward to inform future developments in UKCAT. These include further evaluation of subgroup performance differences in the test, commissioning of future predictive validity cohort studies and exploring coaching effects on test performance.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Anderson, Susan
Dennick, Reg
Keywords: UKCAT, United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test, Undergraduate medicine, Undergraduate dentistry
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > W Health professions
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 71714
Depositing User: Greatrix, Rachel
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 08:57
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 11:01
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/71714

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