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The Role of Institutional Selectivity in the Prediction of Podiatric Medical School Performance

Kevin M. Smith College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA.

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Simon Geletta College of Health Sciences, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA.

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Background: This pilot study explores the influence of preadmission data on podiatric medical school performance, specifically, the role of undergraduate institutional selectivity. This type of study has never been described in the podiatric medical education literature. We conducted a longitudinal analysis of preadmission data on 459 students from the graduating classes of 2000 to 2009 at the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University.

Methods: Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the relationship between performance during the first year of podiatric medical school and a set of independent variables that represent certain preadmission student characteristics. Student demographic characteristics, such as race/ethnicity and sex, were also included in the regression analysis as control variables.

Results: The regression analysis revealed that ethnic origin, undergraduate grade point average, Medical College Admission Test biological science and verbal reasoning scores, and institutional selectivity together had a significant effect on the dependent variable (F = 18.3; P < .001). The variance for the independent variable/constant variables was 32%. Almost twice as many students were dismissed or withdrew in poor academic standing who attended undergraduate institutions in the lowest selectivity category.

Conclusions: This analysis revealed that in the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, some preadmission variables, such as institutional selectivity, undergraduate grade point average, ethnic origin, and Medical College Admission Test verbal reasoning and biological science scores, are statistically significant in predicting first-year podiatric medical school grade point average. The selectivity of a student’s undergraduate institution should be considered when screening potential podiatric medical school applicants. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(6): 479–486, 2010)

Corresponding author: Kevin M. Smith, DPM, MS, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, 3200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312. (E-mail: kevin.smith@dmu.edu)