Bridging the gap: improving CASPer test confidence and competency for underrepresented minorities in medicine through interactive peer-assisted learning

  • Lolade Shipeolu University of Ottawa
  • Johanne Matthieu University of Ottawa
  • Farhan Mahmood University of Ottawa
  • Ike Okafor University of Toronto

Abstract

Background: The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) is a situational judgement test (SJT) adopted by medical schools to assess applicants’ interpersonal skills. CASPer applicants must compose their responses to ethical dilemmas, thereby highlighting the applicant’s rationale for ethical decision-making. Minority applicants usually lack access to a network of individuals who can offer guidance and expertise on ethical decision-making. As such, this study investigated the impact of a CASPer coaching program designed for minority applicants.

Methods: A free online intervention was designed to help minority applicants prepare for the CASPer test. The program consisted of 35 learners and three medical student tutors. Important attributes of the 4-week program included free access to a medical ethics book, feedback provision to in-class and homework student responses, and facilitation of a mock CASPer. Course feedback was collected. Additionally, a pre and post-program survey was administered to assess learners’ competence and confidence surrounding CASPer test-taking.

Results: Our pre and post-program survey showed significant student improvement in familiarity with the test, increased competence, confidence and preparedness, as well as reduced anxiety (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Through peer-to-peer teaching and access to medical student mentors, our program addresses socioeconomic barriers that several minority applicants face when applying to medical school.

Author Biographies

Lolade Shipeolu, University of Ottawa

Medical Student, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

Johanne Matthieu, University of Ottawa

Medical Student, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine 

Farhan Mahmood, University of Ottawa

Medical Student, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

Ike Okafor, University of Toronto

Senior Officer of Service Learning and Diversity Outreach, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine 

Published
2020-12-03
How to Cite
Shipeolu, L., Matthieu, J., Mahmood, F., & Okafor, I. (2020). Bridging the gap: improving CASPer test confidence and competency for underrepresented minorities in medicine through interactive peer-assisted learning . Canadian Medical Education Journal, 12(1), e70-e75. https://doi.org/10.36834/cmej.70616
Section
Brief Reports