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Duggan, EM,O'Tuathaigh, CMP,Horgan, M,O'Flynn, S
Qjm-An International Journal Of Medicine
Enhanced research assessment performance in graduate vs. undergraduate-entry medical students: implications for recruitment into academic medicine
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Background: Studies investigating variance between the academic performance of direct-entry (DEM) versus graduate-entry (GEM) medical students have yielded conflicting results, but their performance in undergraduate research-based assessments has not been compared to-date.Aim: We aimed to compare the results of DEM and GEM students with respect to their senior research dissertation module.Methods: This retrospective study examined the final year results between 2011-2012 in DEM, (n = 219) and GEM (n = 84) students. Between-group comparisons of dissertation module marks were conducted using independent t-tests. Correlations between marks in dissertation module and in other disciplines assessed during the final year were attained using Pearson's correlation. Multiple regression analysis was employed to adjust for potential confounding factors such as student age and gender.Results: No apparent difference was apparent between the DEM and GEM students with respect to results achieved across the clinical disciplines examined. However, GEM students performed significantly better than DEMs in their senior research dissertation assessment (Mean = 66.81% vs. 65.00%, fully adjusted p = 0.048). The variable which remained influential in regression analysis was nationality, where North American and Asian students were demonstrated to score lower than their Irish counterparts in the dissertation module (B coefficient = -1.90, SE = 0.94, P = 0.045 and B coefficient = -4.88, SE = 1.00, P < 0.001 respectively).Conclusions: Performance in the research-based module was significantly better in GEM relative to their DEM colleagues. This finding may have implications for future recruitment into academic medicine, as aptitude and interest in research at undergraduate level has been shown to be associated with increased likelihood of an academic career in medicine.
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