​Filling the gap in GME selection: 2021 pilot report

Transitioning to residency is a challenging process for final-year trainees in undergraduate medicine, who struggle to balance clinical rotations with their residency applications, interviews, and audition rotations for the limited spots to which they’re applying. The competitive nature of the application process has also created “application fever,” with the number of programs that applicants apply to having doubled in the last decade.

For programs, the sheer volume of applications makes it difficult to fully understand and evaluate what each applicant has to offer beyond their academic achievements. GME selection teams lack reliable, standardized tools to support holistic applicant review. These programs may rely heavily on specific licensure scores to filter and screen large numbers of applicants, such as the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). The scores were never intended to be used this way, and changes have been made to these scores that limit their use; USMLE Step 1 has moved to a simple pass/fail, while Step 2 CS has been discontinued altogether. For osteopathic medical students, COMLEX-USA Level 1 has also moved to pass/fail, while COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE has been suspended.

To help applicants showcase all their valuable qualities, and to help programs find the right match, new solutions are needed. That’s why Acuity has been piloting a suite of assessments — Casper and Duet — with GME programs since 2020.

This report presents our research findings from the 2021 cycle and explores how these assessments are filling critical gaps in the selection process. In this report, you’ll find:

  • how many programs and applicants participated in the pilot
  • reliability data for Casper and Duet
  • applicant acceptability data for all three assessments
  • testimonials from programs and applicants
  • how to get involved in Acuity research