More tests, less interviews to find Maori doctors

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Goodness knows we need more Maori doctors and nurses, so it’ll be interesting to see how well this test ensures that this happens. We’ve contacted Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (Te ORA): Maori Medical Practitioners Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand and will add their response when it comes through.

In particular we’ve asked the question does what Dr Shulruf have merit or is it just another way to move a way from affirmative action which has seen more Maori taking up medicine then ever before. Mauri ora!

What do you think?

(IMOGEN NEALE – Sunday Star Times) A university professor is proposing a new test to decide which students make it into medical school, claiming it will allow more Maori and Pacific Islanders to become doctors.

Auckland University medical and health sciences faculty senior lecturer Dr Boaz Shulruf says current admission rules, based on ethnicity quotas, exam marks and interviews, don’t work.

About 10% of medical school places are reserved for Maori and Pacific students under the Maori and Pacific Admission Scheme, but Shulruf says “demographic- based affirmative action” admits students regardless of their chances of success.

He is calling for a system that tries to predict how well a student will do at medical school. Shulruf calls it the Dual Admission Model because it uses two “admission tracks” to select potential students.

“It is very positive because it increases success and minimises failure, exactly what we want to achieve for Maori, Pasifika and students from low-income families.”

Shulruf says one track is the system currently used in New Zealand, which is based on a student’s secondary school achievements.

“That model ranks the students on their past achievements in school, and chooses the best to be admitted to university,” he said.

The second track was devised by Shulruf and is based on a model that predicts a student’s university achievements – irrespective of how they did at secondary school.

“A few studies undertaken in New Zealand indicated that if dual admission were put in place more Maori, Pasifika and students from low-income families or from lower-decile schools would be admitted. “The beauty of the system is that it increases participation of students from under-represented groups in the universities, but without applying ethnicity or socio-economic status-based affirmative actions, hence it is fair.”

New Zealand has two main medical schools – Auckland and Otago.

Otago doesn’t interview prospective medical students and admission is based on first-year marks and undergraduate medicine and health sciences admission test results.

In Auckland, admission is based on an interview (25%), first year marks (60%), and undergraduate test results (15%).

“The literature on the use of interviews for decisions on admission to medical schools suggests that it is not a good measure, particularly because such interviews normally yielded low reliability,” Shulruf says.

“Based on my findings and the literature, written examinations have stronger predictive power than interviews.”

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