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New York Medical College School of Medicine Adopts Innovative Admissions Tool Focused on Personal Attributes of Applicants

At an average of 13,000 applications per year, NYMC has one of the largest applicant pools among all private medical schools in the country.

Date: July 08, 2015
Media Contact:

Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications
New York Medical College
(914) 594-4552

NYMC School of Medicine is the first in the nation to require CASPer for all new applicants

Valhalla, N.Y., July 8, 2015—In an effort to further broaden its balanced, holistic review of medical school applicants, the New York Medical College (NYMC) School of Medicine today announced its adoption of a new online assessment tool for the pre-interview screening phase of the admissions process, known as CASPer. This innovative tool will allow the admissions committee to better identify personal attributes of candidates, such as ethics, empathy, cultural sensitivity, collaboration, resiliency and adaptability – all of which NYMC believes are essential to become a compassionate and capable physician. Research indicates that CASPer, short for Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics, results are a more reliable and effective predictor of future performance of these personal attributes.

Developed by the team at Altus Assessments Inc. and McMaster University, CASPer is an on-line situational judgment test, primarily consisting of a series of hypothetical everyday situations presented through a live-action video. Each situation relates to one or more personal characteristics. Examinees are asked to provide short written responses on how they would react or behave in the situation portrayed. The CASPer score is especially robust as it is based on independent ratings of each anonymized scenario response which provides additional objective information for the admissions committee when considering whom to invite for an on-campus interview – a requirement for all medical schools.

Situational judgment tests are currently used in corporate settings for executive positions and in international medical school admissions in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada and Australia among other countries. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the use of situational judgment tests “in U.S. medical school admissions is gaining momentum….as a potential tool for identifying aspirants who have strong inter- and intra- personal skills.”

“New York Medical College is proud to be a leader in creating a more fair and balanced review process of medical school applicants with the addition of CASPer this year,” said D. Douglas Miller, M.D., C.M., M.B.A., dean of the School of Medicine. “This new assessment will not only prove useful in identifying candidates who are emotionally mature and ethically grounded, but it will also assist us in strengthening our holistic admissions process where personal characteristics, foundational experiences and educational excellence are judged with equal measure.”

“At Altus Assessments, we strive to simplify the applicant assessment process, while simultaneously making it more effective and fair,” said Rich Emrich, CEO at Altus Assessments Inc. “We are thrilled to work with Dr. Miller and the innovative team at NYMC. This is a great example of how academic admissions continue to evolve towards tools that are based on research and data. Schools like NYMC that value personal characteristics and professionalism need tools for these domains that can be trusted.”

At an average of 13,000 applications per year, NYMC has one of the largest applicant pools among all private medical schools in the country. During the interview season, which runs from October through April, approximately 1,100 applicants participate in an on-campus interview utilizing the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) format. Through the MMI, candidates move through a circuit of short, carefully-timed, scenario-based interview stations each conducted by a different interviewer. The interviewer’s role is to facilitate an open-ended discussion of the scenario and rate the applicant’s responses and interpersonal and communication skills.

NYMC MMI interviewers represent a broad-range of stakeholders in medicine. In addition to basic science and clinical faculty, they include nurses, social workers, allied health professionals, clinical psychologists, public health advocates, epidemiologists, hospital administrators, lawyers, human resources professionals, members of local community organizations, former patients, current NYMC medical students and alumni. This diversity of perspective adds an invaluable dimension to the assessment of each applicant. 

The same medical-school educators at McMaster University in Canada – who pioneered the MMI format used at NYMC as well as more than 35 medical schools across the country – developed CASPer. NYMC plans to collaborate with McMaster University and Altus Assessments Inc. on research focusing on direct correlations between CASPer test results and potential changes in demographics of medical student selection as well as indirect correlations between emphasis on screening selection tools with strong “humanism” content and efforts by students to increase their appreciation of the AAMC core personal/humanistic competencies as they prepare for a career in medicine.

About New York Medical College
Founded in 1860, NYMC is one of the oldest and largest health sciences universities in the country with more than 1,400 students, 1,300 residents and clinical fellows, nearly 3,000 faculty members, and 16,000 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers advanced degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, and the School of Health Sciences and Practice. The College manages more than $36 million in research and other sponsored programs, notably in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, kidney disease, the neurosciences, disaster medicine, and vaccine development. With a network of affiliated hospitals that includes large urban medical centers, small suburban clinics and high-tech regional tertiary care facilities, NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities throughout the tri-state region for medical students, residents, and other health providers.

About Altus Assessments Inc.
Altus Assessments creates and delivers reliable and highly effective applicant screening tools to improve the quality of students accepted to academic programs. Using its online testing platform, Altus’ screening tools are cost effectively delivered to applicants worldwide. It’s main product, CASPer™, stems from nearly a decade of data collection and research, and nearly 25,000 academic applicants have taken the test since 2010. Altus is setup to easily serve global academic customers, including programs in health, law, business, and education sectors. For more information, visit altusassessments.com