4 benefits of Casper for your UK admissions process

There’s more that can be done to increase diversity within universities in the UK and, ultimately, service-based professions. Even with widening participation schemes in place, you are still 60% more likely to gain a professional job if you have a privileged background as opposed to a working class background. 33% of people from a working class background have gained a professional career, however 49% of all Brits identify as working class. 

More can also be done around university admissions commonly using reference letters as a soft skills measurement tool. The inter-rater reliability of reference letters falls far below (0.4) the recommended threshold (0.7) for high stakes testing.

Another issue to address is remediation. One study found approximately 10-15% of medical students fail to make satisfactory progress and require remediation to avoid the potential risk of struggling as doctors. We all know remediation is a costly venture and professionalism issues are hard to identify during selection as students are able to present themselves in a certain light to hide these issues. 

These issues may not be news to you and maybe you don’t know where to start to help remedy the above mentioned issues. A great starting place is within UK admissions processes.

For nearly 20 years, Acuity has been working with medical education admissions teams to create a world served by exceptional professionals. We partner with hundreds of courses globally to help their holistic applicant review and improve their processes. 96% of US medical applicants take Casper every year.

Casper is our standardised, online, open response SJT that evaluates professionalism and social intelligence; the first open response SJT to enter UK admissions processes. It has proven to help with equity in admissions, may reduce the need for remediation, and has a strong reliability rating of 0.86. 

6 UK courses used Casper in their admissions process during the 2021-2022 test cycle and is being rolled out to many more courses for the 2022-23 test cycle. In this article, we will explore the four main reasons why you should use Casper within your admissions process and how it can support your current admissions process and make it easier for your team to reliably measure soft skills using valid data.

1. Assess essential soft skills

Research shows healthcare professionals that have more empathy and compassion are more meticulous about their patients’ care and less likely to make major medical errors. They have a better understanding of their patients and save time by eliminating unnecessary diagnostic testing and referrals. Patients also feel more confident in abiding by their health care professional. Recent studies also found having an empathetic doctor can improve treatment outcomes, while true compassion is the “convergence of the art and science of medicine,” notes Trzeciak.

Within healthcare, issues of professionalism account for most disciplinary action by medical boards and are more difficult and costly to remediate than technical knowledge gaps. Patients remember more negative experiences than positive ones, affecting the likelihood of them seeking out care when they need it again.

Casper measures a host of soft skills including professionalism, empathy, and compassion to help future professionals avoid these costly non-technical skill gaps. 

Collaboration, Communication, Empathy, Equity, Ethics, Motivation, Problem solving, Professionalism, Resilience, Self awareness, situational judgement tests

2. Less prone to bias 

One main benefit for UK admissions to use an open-response SJT is they are less prone to bias than traditional methods such as unstructured interviews, personal statements, and reference letters. This is due to the standardised structure and psychometric methods used in SJTs, leading them to measure aspects of social intelligence and professionalism more reliably. 

Casper measures soft skills and has evidence of positive correlations with behaviours and soft skills expected in service-based professions. This explains why many university courses are integrating it into their admissions process. 

We also monitor and intercept any bias detected and understand the nature of the tests being designed can cause systemic biases, therefore we are committed to getting many perspectives to address the systemic influence by using:

  • A diverse group of subject matter experts
  • Focus groups and advisory boards
  • Statistical review looking for bias 

3. Teach the future professionals

High reliability, relatively low cost of administration, and strong predictive validity are just a few reasons why open-response SJTs are gaining popularity within admissions around the world. 96% of US medical school applicants use Casper, which has over a decade of scientific research and predictive validity evidence. Our research team have done many studies with course partners, (i.e. medical, physician associate, physical therapists, dental, and vet schools) and have found meaningful relationships with admissions, pre-clinical, and clinic professionalism indicators. For example, Tulane University saw a 1 z-score increase in Casper increased the odds of getting honors in clinic placement by 1.72%.

We use test validity which looks at the degree to which the test measures what it intends to measure. Construct validity and criterion validity are two categories of ‘validity’. 

Casper is also a trusted and reliable assessment, backed by 20 years of research and has proved to be a reliable predictor of future performance. To ensure a consistent high reliability of Casper we use different reliability measures, i.e. test-retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, and internal consistency.

When the tools used in your admissions are reliable and have strong predictive validity, you know you have accurate and consistent results for the specific areas you want to assess.

4. Be known for having a fair admissions process

Casper promotes a fair admissions process through commitment to bias-free scenarios and superior equity performance relative to traditional measures through:

  • Its online test format ensuring easy access for all applicants
  • Rating of test responses by a diverse group of people who are highly trained, including implicit bias training
  • Continuous research to improve fairness and equity of the test

Research shows SJTs are fairer than traditional interviews, reference letters, and personal statements. Open response SJTs have shown lower demographic differences and support freer expression of thought than close-ended responses. Applicants are able to craft their own responses and express their rationale in relation to their life experiences when asked questions such as “what would you do?”

Casper is here for you

Casper was designed and developed to benefit applicants and courses alike to assess essential soft skills required to succeed in a more equitable way. Measures are present to reduce implicit bias and psychometric methods were used in the development to make our standardised open-response SJT less prone to bias and help you in your applicant selection process.

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