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Removing the interview for medical school selection is associated with gender bias among enrolled students

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To the Editor: Wilkinson and colleagues recently presented data showing a reduction in female graduate-entry enrolments in the University of Queensland’s medical program,1 and suggested that this was due to the removal of interviews from the selection process and gender bias in GAMSAT scores.

This explanation is a poor fit for the observed data (r2 = 0.586; see Box 1). The GAMSAT gender bias explains why male students were favoured (and not female), but Wilkinson et al did not explain why removing the interview would directly impact enrolments. Since the magnitude of the GAMSAT bias has remained stable over time, the yearly increase in the magnitude of bias towards male enrolments from 2009 until 2012 remains unexplained.

We present an alternate hypothesis: that the gender bias occurred due to the increase in school leaver pathway enrolments, and the corresponding decrease in direct graduate-entry places offered (r2 = 0.956, Box 2).

Before 2009, about 130% of the expected intake was shortlisted for interview using GAMSAT score as the ranking criterion. From 2009 onwards, 100% of the intake was selected using GAMSAT ranking only — thereby raising the cut-off score. Given the male GAMSAT bias, this…