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May 1, 1987

The Selection of Medical Students

JAMA. 1987;257(17):2291-2292. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390170047019

To the Editor.—  The article by DeVaul et al1 is an example of a study that becomes so caught up in statistical analysis and impossible comparisons that the authors come to a conclusion that not only does not follow from the data presented, but also displays the frightening realities of how certain admission committees are run.The authors claim that "the traditional interview process probably does not enhance the ability to predict performance of medical school applicants." This conclusion is based on a comparison of applicants initially accepted to medical school with a group of applicants initially rejected. The performance of these students in medical school and one year after graduation revealed no significant differences. "Even when the top 50 students in committee preference were compared with the 50 IR [initially rejected] applicants, there were no differences."We are given a table (Table 3) that compares the two groups