Assessing distinguishable social skills in medical admission: does construct-driven development solve validity issues of situational judgment tests?


BACKGROUND: Social skills are important for future physicians and are therefore increasingly considered in selection processes. One economic assessment method from which different social skills can be inferred are Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) in which applicants are asked to rate behavioral responses in context-relevant situations. However, traditional SJTs have so far failed to distinctively measure specified constructs. To address this shortcoming in the medical admission context, we applied a construct-driven approach of SJT development in which test development was deductively guided by agency and communion as target constructs.

METHOD: The final version of the construct-driven SJT includes 15 items per construct with three behavioral responses. Medical school applicants (N = 1527) completed the construct-driven SJT, a traditional SJT, and an aptitude test under high-stakes condition as part of their application. A subsample (N = 575) participated in a subsequent voluntary online study with self-report measures of personality and past behavior.

RESULTS: The proposed two-factor structure and internal consistency of the construct-driven SJT was confirmed. Communal SJT scores were positively associated with self-reported communal personality and communal behavior, yet effects were smaller than expected. Findings for agentic SJT scores were mixed with positive small associations to self-reported agentic personality scores and agentic behavior but unexpected negative relations to communal self-reported measures.

CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that construct-driven SJTs might overcome validity limitations of traditional SJTs, although their implementation is challenging. Despite first indicators of validity, future research needs to address practical points of application in high-stakes settings, inclusion of other constructs, and especially prediction of actual behavior before the application of construct-driven SJTs for selection purposes in medical admission can be recommended.

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StatusVeröffentlicht - 20.04.2022