Risk factors associated with academic difficulty in an Australian regionally located medical school

Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., O'Connor, Teresa, Ray, Robin A., Kerlen, Yolanda, Bellingan, Michelle, and Teague, Peta-Ann (2017) Risk factors associated with academic difficulty in an Australian regionally located medical school. BMC Medical Education, 17. 266.

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Abstract

Background: Despite the highly selective admission processes utilised by medical schools, a significant cohort of medical students still face academic difficulties and are at a higher risk of delayed graduation or outright dismissal.

Methods: This study used survival analysis to identify the non-academic and academic risk factors (and their relative risks) associated with academic difficulty at a regionally located medical school. Retrospective non-academic and academic entry data for all medical students who were enrolled at the time of the study (2009–2014) were collated and analysed. Non-academic variables included age at commencement of studies, gender, Indigenous status, origin, first in family to go to University (FIF), non-English speaking background (NESB), socio-economic status (SES) and rurality expressed as Australian Standard Geographical Classification-Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA). Academic variables included tertiary entrance exam score expressed as overall position (OP) and interview score. In addition, post-entry mid- and end-of-year summative assessment data in the first and second years of study were collated.

Results: The results of the survival analysis indicated that FIF, Indigenous and very remote backgrounds, as well as low post-entry Year 1 (final) and Year 2 (mid-year and final) examination scores were strong risk factors associated with academic difficulty. A high proportion of the FIF students who experienced academic difficulty eventually failed and exited the medical program. Further exploratory research will be required to identify the specific needs of this group of students in order to develop appropriate and targeted academic support programs for them.

Conclusions: This study has highlighted the need for medical schools to be proactive in establishing support interventions/strategies earlier rather than later, for students experiencing academic difficulty because, the earlier such students can be flagged, the more likely they are able to obtain positive academic outcomes.

Item ID: 51866
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6920
Keywords: academic difficulty, medical students, regionally located medical school, risk factors
Additional Information:

© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 05:27
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 50%
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