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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-131

Scope of the aptitude tests and their validation in medical education


1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission02-Oct-2017
Date of Decision15-Nov-2017
Date of Acceptance20-Dec-2018
Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_80_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of the aptitude tests and their validation in medical education. Int J Acad Med 2019;5:130-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of the aptitude tests and their validation in medical education. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 20];5:130-1. Available from: http://www.ijam-web.org/text.asp?2019/5/2/130/265686



To the Editor,

Aptitude tests have been used in wide range of fields with an aim to assess the logical reasoning and the thinking ability of a respondent.[1] These tests generally comprises of multiple choice questions, which have to be solved in a predefined time span, which in turn depends on the number of questions in test.[1] Further, such test can measure different skills such as verbal ability (English speaking skills), numeric ability (mathematics and interpretation of results), abstract reasoning (questions with minimal or nil relevance in actual world), spatial reasoning (skills to draw or infer from pictures), and data checking (identification of mistakes from the given data with precision and speed).[1],[2],[3]

Based on the presence or absence of specific skills, an individual can be selected for a specific job using aptitude tests.[1] Further, it plays a crucial role in assisting an individual to decide their own career and is an indirect method to help a student to plan their academic improvement based on the identification of their strong or weak areas in an aptitude test.[1],[2] In addition, it is useful for those people who want to change their profession.[2] Owing to the ability of the test to thoroughly assess the performance of respondents, a carefully designed and validated aptitude test can measure the mental capabilities of different individuals.[1]

On the other hand, it is expensive to develop or administer an aptitude test, and more often than not students have to pay for the involved costs.[1] Also, the nature of response may differ for the respondents, as the environment during the test and during the workplace might be quite different from each other.[1] In addition, these tests do not provide a holistic picture, as it can identify only weak or strong areas of the respondents, but gives no inference about the extent to which new things can be learnt by respondents.[1] Further, the test provides reflections about the mind, but not about personality, and is a stressful exercise.[1],[4] Finally, a wide range of determinants also influence the outcome of a course, and aptitude is not the solitary determinant.[1]

In the field of medical education, validated aptitude tests have been employed by medical schools for streamlining the process of selection of undergraduate medical and dental students.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] Considering the value of the aptitude tests, it is very essential that the process of validation is applied on the tests, so that adequate validity evidence can be collected from sources to evaluate the appropriateness of the interpretations, uses, and decisions based on assessment results.[2] The aim is to perform a construct validation, which measures the extent to which a score can be interpreted as covering the intended underlying construct.[3],[4] The evidence for the same can be collected from five sources to support any interpretation, namely,

  • Content: Whether the items of the aptitude tests completely covers the underlying construct (domain which is to be assessed). It deals with the test blueprint, qualifications of the question setters, formulation of the well-written questions, evidence that designed questions adequately represent the construct, and then, rechecking of the same by other colleagues [3]
  • Response process: It is necessary to ascertain the relationship between the intended construct and thought the process of respondents. It comprises of clarity of instructions; student thought process while answering, scoring of tests, training of raters, rater thought process when they observe respondents and linguistic constraints. It is very important to ensure that either the response format is familiar to the respondents or adequate time is given to the respondents to understand how to respond to the questions [2],[3]
  • Internal structure: To assess the reliability and factor structure. It is essential to ensure inter-rater reliability and that whether the constructs identified during the development stage stands true even during practice. This source of evidence also deals with internal consistency (whether all the items of an aptitude test measures the same construct?), item discrimination, and factor analysis to ascertain different dimensions of performance of the students [3],[4],[5],[6]
  • Relations to other variables: This evidence comments about the correlation between score obtained in a particular aptitude test with other tests designed to evaluate the underlying construct [3],[5]
  • Consequences: This validity evidence evaluates the method to determine examination pass/fail scoring, and differential pass/fail rates among students who are expected to perform similarly. Furthermore, in case a cutoff limit has been established for the test, it is essential to describe the method adopted for the same.[3],[6]


To conclude, aptitude tests have a definite scope in the field of medical education. Thus, employment of a validated aptitude test will play a significant role in measuring the abilities of the respondent and will reflect the holistic picture of an individual's mind.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Target Study. Importance of an Aptitude Test in Education; 2017. Available from: https://www.targetstudy.com/articles/importance-of-an-aptitude-test-in-education.html. [Last accessed on 2017 Sep 26].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Blackmur JP, Lone NI, Stone OD, Webb DJ, Dhaun N. A cross-sectional study of current doctors' performance in a modified version of a medical school admission aptitude test: The UKCAT. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e3506.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Cook DA, Beckman TJ. Current concepts in validity and reliability for psychometric instruments: Theory and application. Am J Med 2006;119:166.e7-16.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
El-Masri MM. Validity of psychometric instruments. Can Nurse 2016;112:12.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kontoangelos K, Tsiori S, Poulakou G, Protopapas K, Katsarolis I, Sakka V, et al. Reliability, validity and psychometric properties of the Greek translation of the posttraumatic stress disorder scale. Ment Illn 2017;9:6832.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Mayo AM. Psychometric instrumentation: Reliability and validity of instruments used for clinical practice, evidence-based practice projects and research studies. Clin Nurse Spec 2015;29:134-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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