UOW Australia School of Medicine Implements CASPer – Full Version
The MD program here at the University of Wollongong is a four-year graduate entry program. We are aiming to produce not only excellent doctors, but doctors with an interest in practicing in all geographic settings and that have a big belief in social accountability and closing the gap on indigenous health. My name is Lyndal Parker-Newlyn. I am associate professor of medical education and academic leader of MD admissions here at the University of Wollongong. I think we face the same challenges as most medical schools. We have a very large pool of highly qualified candidates, so we are spoiled for choice. We need to select in the best of those candidates while screening out candidates that are unsuitable for medicine. Obviously, we are looking for applicants that have the intelligence, the academic ability and the cognitive skills to be proficient doctors. But specifically on top of that we are looking for certain personal attributes certain personal attributes. We are looking for applicants with empathy and compassion, with the ethics and integrity, that can act as both leaders and team players as the need arides. We felt quite strongly that that personal quality screening was really important and was something that was lacking from our selection process. What CASPer added for us was not necessarily a different approach, but a more thorough approach, that allowed us to screen at the beginning to screen equally as importantly for those personal attributes. Cognitive skill is of course important, but when you look at future professional behaviour, most complaints about doctors, most professional breaches with doctors happen because of behaviours, not because of knowledge. So using non-cognitive tools to select the right people, not just the smartest people, I think is probably the biggest fundamental shift that’s happened in medical selection over the last fifty years. By adding CASPer to these academic measures, it’s complimentary and so you end up with an additive benefit in selection and getting a more broader and rounded approach to looking at the applicants. Implementing CASPer for us as the first MD program in Australia to use it has been a big learning curve for both us and Altus Assessments to understand each other and work together. It’s been a really positive experience for us. Altus has helped us with obviously the implementation of the test. But even down to the collaborating on research, assisting us with better ways to analyze and better understand our data and helping us learn from the other schools internationally that use CASPer. So that we can move forward. I think that if there are any schools that are considering implementing CASPer for health professions education, or for any selection program really, the most important thing to look at is the evidence. We all need to innovate if we are going to move forward and meet these challenges for selection.