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Difficulties with Anonymous Shortlisting of Medical School Applications and Its Effects on Candidates with Non-European Names: Prospective Cohort Study

Andrew B. Lumb and Andy Vail
BMJ: British Medical Journal
Vol. 320, No. 7227 (Jan. 8, 2000), pp. 82-85
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25186791
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Difficulties with Anonymous Shortlisting of Medical School Applications and Its Effects on Candidates with Non-European Names: Prospective Cohort Study
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Abstract

Objective To assess the feasibility of anonymous shortlisting of applications for medical school and its effect on those with non-European names. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting Leeds school of medicine, United Kingdom. Subjects 2047 applications for 1998 entry from the United Kingdom and the European Union. Intervention Deletion of all references to name and nationality from the application form. Main outcome measures Scoring by two admissions tutors at shortlisting. Results Deleting names was cumbersome as some were repeated up to 15 times. Anonymising application forms was ineffective as one admissions tutor was able to identify nearly 50% of candidates classed as being from an ethnic minority group. Although scores were lower for applicants with non-European names, anonymity did not improve scores. Applicants with non-European names who were identified as such by tutors were significantly less likely to drop marks in one particular non-academic area (the career insight component) than their European counterparts. Conclusions There was no evidence of benefit to candidates with non-European names of attempting to blind assessment. Anonymising application forms cannot be recommended.

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