Evidence-based appraisal of the role of SJTs in selection

Sahota, Gurvinder, Mclachlan, John Charles orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5493-2645, Patterson, Fiona and Tiffin, Paul (2023) Evidence-based appraisal of the role of SJTs in selection. Clinical Medicine . ISSN 1470-2118

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmed.2023-0295


A recent Opinions article promoted a new preference-based algorithm to allocate training places for the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO). This replaced the previous process which ranked candidates based on medical school academic achievement (the educational performance measure- EPM) and the score on a situational judgement test (SJT). Although not without risks, we believe the new system has positive potential. In presenting their case, Sam et al summarised the evidence relating the UKFPO in an unbalanced way, leading to, what we believe are erroneous inferences, particularly with regard to differential attainment. The article provides an example of how the general evidence-base and conceptual understanding of the validity of SJTs for medical selection is poorly understood.

In this Opinion piece we highlight important research findings that were not cited in the Sam et al article and provides what we believe is a more balanced and accurate interpretation of the evidence base relating the UKFP SJT, and SJTs used in medical selection in general. We do this with particular reference to the validity of such tools in this context, as well as their potential impact on underrepresented groups in medicine, compared to other selection assessments.

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