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Publications (2)5.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Admission to medical studies in Austria since academic year 2005-2006 has been regulated by admission tests. At the Medical University of Graz, an admission test focusing on secondary-school-level knowledge in natural sciences has been used for this purpose. The impact of this important change on dropout rates of female versus male students and older versus younger students is reported. All 2,860 students admitted to the human medicine diploma program at the Medical University of Graz from academic years 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 were included. Nonparametric and semiparametric survival analysis techniques were employed to compare cumulative probability of dropout between demographic groups. Cumulative probability of dropout was significantly reduced in students selected by active admission procedure versus those admitted openly (P < .0001). Relative hazard ratio of selected versus openly admitted students was only 0.145 (95% CI, 0.106-0.198). Among openly admitted students, but not for selected ones, the cumulative probabilities for dropout were higher for females (P < .0001) and for older students (P < .0001). Generally, dropout hazard is highest during the second year of study. The introduction of admission testing significantly decreased the cumulative probability for dropout. In openly admitted students a significantly higher risk for dropout was found in female students and in older students, whereas no such effects can be detected after admission testing. Future research should focus on the sex dependence, with the aim of improving success rates among female applicants on the admission tests.
    Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 06/2011; 86(8):1040-8. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although admission to university in Austria is generally open for applicants who have successfully completed secondary school, in some areas of study, including human medicine and dentistry, the selection of students by additional criteria has become legally possible as a result of a decision by the European Court in 2005. We studied the impact of this important change on the temporal pattern of medical students' progress through the study programme. All 2532 regular students admitted to the diploma programme in human medicine at the Medical University of Graz during the academic years 2002/03-2007/08 were included in the analysis. Non-parametric and semi-parametric survival analysis techniques were employed to compare the time required to complete the first two study semesters (first part of the curriculum) before and after the implementation of admission tests. Temporal patterns of dropout before this goal was achieved were also investigated. Sex, age and nationality of students were assessed as potential confounding variables. The cumulative probability of study success was dramatically better in selected students versus those who were admitted openly (P < 0.0001). Whereas only 20.1-26.4% of openly admitted students completed the first two study semesters within the scheduled time of 1 year, this percentage rose to 75.6-91.9% for those selected by admission tests. Similarly, the cumulative probability for dropping out of study was also significantly lower in selected students (P < 0.0001). By univariate as well as multivariate techniques, student nationality, age and sex were also identified as partly significant, albeit weak, predictors. The analysis convincingly demonstrates that, by contrast with open admission, performance-based selection of medical students significantly raises the probability of successful study progress. Additionally, the proportion of dropouts is significantly reduced. Thus, admission tests save considerable costs, in terms of both student time and public resources.
    Medical Education 02/2010; 44(2):205-14. · 3.55 Impact Factor