A student selection association (stav) funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research with EUR 3 million euros took effect on July 1, 2018. The University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) plays a key role in stav and now aims to improve selection procedures for applicants to medical schools. The German government and states had earlier agreed to overhaul selection procedures for medical students after the German Constitutional Court ruled the present process partly unconstitutional saying it violated equal opportunity laws. The German government has drafted a Master Plan for Medical Studies 2020 to reform the course.
Selection procedures elsewhere
The UKE working group includes Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the universities of Göttingen, Heidelberg, Münster and Saarbrücken. Some 20 co-operating partners will make their data available to allow stav to evaluate multiple selection criteria in Germany. A joint student selection centre will be set up in Hamburg to launch scientifically sound, structured and standardised selection procedures at all German medical faculties. Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus, Dean of the Medical Faculty and member of the UKE Executive Board, noted: “UKE’s central position in stav is the result of the continuous promotion of student selection in Hamburg, which is unique in Germany.”
Goal – standard, nationwide tests for selecting applicants
The working group will also develop a means of testing applicants’ cognitive skills based on tests for medical courses of study and the “Hamburger-Naturwissenchaftstest” (HAM-NAT) – a science test for use throughout Germany. A written “Situational Judgment Test” and multiple mini interviews will be developed to gauge social and communicative skills. This would give Germany’s medical faculties standard tests and a service structure for selecting students.
Interviews predict medical students’ skills
The UKE has been using the “HAM-Nat” natural science test since 2008 to examine the knowledge and motivation of applicants. UKE has also introduced multiple mini-interviews to measure applicants’ psychosocial skills for university places. The five-minute tests focus on their communicative and social skills in a doctor-patient conversation with a patient portrayed by an actor. This results in an overall picture composed of many individual assessments by different evaluators and allows for a more objective evaluation than classical interviews. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hampe, co-ordinator of stav and a representative of the UKE’s Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, said: “The studies conducted by the selection committee show that the students selected in this way are not only very successful in their studies but are also well able to deal with patients.”
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