Context: Despite evidence for the predictive value of both pre-admission characteristics and past performance at medical school, their relative contribution to predicting medical school performance has not been thoroughly investigated.Objectives: This study was designed to determine the relative importance of pre-admission characteristics and past performance in medical school in predicting student performance in pre-clinical and clinical training.Methods: This longitudinal prospective study followed six cohorts of students admitted to a Dutch, 6-year, undergraduate medical course during 2002-2007 (n = 2357). Four prediction models were developed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Main outcome measures were 'Year 1 course completion within 1 year' (models 1a, 1b), 'Pre-clinical course completion within 4 years' (model 2) and 'Achievement of at least three of five clerkship grades of ≥ 8.0' (model 3). Pre-admission characteristics (models 1a, 1b, 2, 3) and past performance at medical school (models 1b, 2, 3) were included as predictor variables.Results: In model 1a - including pre-admission characteristics only - the strongest predictor for Year 1 course completion was pre-university grade point average (GPA). Success factors were 'selected by admission testing' and 'age > 21 years'; risk factors were 'Surinamese/Antillean background', 'foreign pre-university degree', 'doctor parent' and male gender. In model 1b, number of attempts and GPA at 4 months were the strongest predictors for Year 1 course completion, and male gender remained a risk factor. Year 1 GPA was the strongest predictor for pre-clinical course completion, whereas being male or aged 19-21 years were risk factors. Pre-clinical course GPA positively predicted clinical performance, whereas being non-Dutch or a first-generation university student were important risk factors for lower clinical grades. Nagelkerke's R<sup>2</sup> ranged from 0.16 to 0.62.Conclusions: This study not only confirms the importance of past performance as a predictor of future performance in pre-clinical training, but also reveals the importance of a student's background as a predictor in clinical training. These findings have important practical implications for selection and support during medical school.,
Medical Education
Department of Internal Medicine

Stegers-Jager, K.M, Themmen, A.P.N, Cohen-Schotanus, J, & Steyerberg, E.W. (2015). Predicting performance: Relative importance of students' background and past performance. Medical Education, 49(9), 933–945. doi:10.1111/medu.12779