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Concept: Aptitude


Most UK medical schools use aptitude tests during student selection, but large-scale studies of predictive validity are rare. This study assesses the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), and its four sub-scales, along with measures of educational attainment, individual and contextual socio-economic background factors, as predictors of performance in the first year of medical school training.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Reliability, England, Medical school, Test, Aptitude


The literature has long pointed to heightened frequencies of learning disabilities (LD) within the population of law offenders; however, a systematic appraisal of these observations, careful estimation of these frequencies, and investigation of their correlates and causes have been lacking. Here we present data collected from all youth (1,337 unique admissions, mean age 14.81, 20.3% females) placed in detention in Connecticut (January 1, 2010-July 1, 2011). All youth completed a computerized educational screener designed to test a range of performance in reading (word and text levels) and mathematics. A subsample (n = 410) received the Wide Range Achievement Test, in addition to the educational screener. Quantitative (scale-based) and qualitative (grade-equivalence-based) indicators were then analyzed for both assessments. Results established the range of LD in this sample from 13% to 40%, averaging 24.9%. This work provides a systematic exploration of the type and severity of word and text reading and mathematics skill deficiencies among juvenile detainees and builds the foundation for subsequent efforts that may link these deficiencies to both more formal, structured, and variable definitions and classifications of LD, and to other types of disabilities (e.g., intellectual disability) and developmental disorders (e.g., ADHD) that need to be conducted in future research.

Concepts: Statistics, Population, Educational psychology, Learning disability, Psychological testing, Achievement tests, Aptitude, Wide Range Achievement Test


The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of admissions criteria at King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to predict students' early academic performance at three health science colleges (medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy). A retrospective cohort study was conducted with data from the records of students enrolled in the three colleges from the 2008-09 to 2010-11 academic years. The admissions criteria-high school grade average (HSGA), aptitude test (APT) score, and achievement test (ACT) score-were the independent variables. The dependent variable was the average of students' first- and second-year grade point average (GPA). The results showed that the ACT was a better predictor of the students' early academic performance than the HSGA (β=0.368, β=0.254, respectively). No significant relationship was found between the APT and students' early academic performance (β=-0.019, p>0.01). The ACT was most predictive for pharmacy students (β=0.405), followed by dental students (β =0.392) and medical students (β=0.195). Overall, the current admissions criteria explained only 25.5% of the variance in the students' early academic performance. While the ACT and HSGA were found to be predictive of students' early academic performance in health colleges at KSU, the APT was not a strong predictor. Since the combined current admissions criteria for the health science colleges at KSU were weak predictors of the variance in early academic performance, it may be necessary to consider noncognitive evaluation methods during the admission process.

Concepts: Cohort study, Evaluation methods, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Saud University, Aptitude


The aim of this study is to develop a novel fully wireless and battery-less technology for cardiac pacing.

Concepts: In vivo, Psychometrics, Test, Transcutaneous pacing, Aptitude


Creativity has previously been linked with atypical attention, but it is not clear what aspects of attention, or what types of creativity are associated. Here we investigated specific neural markers of a very early form of attention, namely sensory gating, indexed by the P50 ERP, and how it relates to two measures of creativity: divergent thinking and real-world creative achievement. Data from 84 participants revealed that divergent thinking (assessed with the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking) was associated with selective sensory gating, whereas real-world creative achievement was associated with “leaky” sensory gating, both in zero-order correlations and when controlling for academic test scores in a regression. Thus both creativity measures related to sensory gating, but in opposite directions. Additionally, divergent thinking and real-world creative achievement did not interact in predicting P50 sensory gating, suggesting that these two creativity measures orthogonally relate to P50 sensory gating. Finally, the ERP effect was specific to the P50 - neither divergent thinking nor creative achievement were related to later components, such as the N100 and P200. Overall results suggest that leaky sensory gating may help people integrate ideas that are outside of focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world; whereas divergent thinking, measured by divergent thinking tests which emphasize numerous responses within a limited time, may require selective sensory processing more than previously thought.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Idea, Thought, Creativity, Aptitude, Convergent and divergent production, Ellis Paul Torrance


The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) has been shown to have a modest but statistically significant ability to predict aspects of academic performance throughout medical school. Previously, this ability has been shown to be incremental to conventional measures of educational performance for the first year of medical school. This study evaluates whether this predictive ability extends throughout the whole of undergraduate medical study and explores the potential impact of using the test as a selection screening tool.

Concepts: Cohort study, Clinical trial, Statistical significance, Evaluation methods, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Test, Aptitude


Prolonged neonatal hypoglycemia is associated with poor long-term neurocognitive function. However, little is known about an association between early transient newborn hypoglycemia and academic achievement.

Concepts: Infant, Neurocognitive, Cognition, Psychological testing, Achievement test, Aptitude


Abstract The present study examined the effects of differing intensity levels of acute exercise on preadolescent academic ability. In a repeated measures design, 18 preadolescent participants (mean age±S.D.=9.8±1.4 years: 9 male and 9 female) completed the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT 4) following 20 minutes of rest, 20-minutes on a cycling ergometer at 50% maximal heart rate reserve (HRR), and 20-minutes on a cycling ergometer at 75% HRR on separate days. Exercise was found to improve spelling irrespective of intensity level. Moderate levels of exercise improved reading although the effect of high levels of intensity is less clear. Both intensity levels impaired arithmetic, whilst sentence comprehension was unaffected. These findings further support the past research that indicates acute bouts of exercise can selectively improve cognition in preadolescent children. However, the present study finds no support for the notion that increasing the intensity of exercise accentuates benefits.

Concepts: Present, Time, Heart rate, Repeated measures design, Past, Achievement tests, Aptitude, Wide Range Achievement Test


Cognitive skills predict academic performance, so schools that improve academic performance might also improve cognitive skills. To investigate the impact schools have on both academic performance and cognitive skills, we related standardized achievement-test scores to measures of cognitive skills in a large sample (N = 1,367) of eighth-grade students attending traditional, exam, and charter public schools. Test scores and gains in test scores over time correlated with measures of cognitive skills. Despite wide variation in test scores across schools, differences in cognitive skills across schools were negligible after we controlled for fourth-grade test scores. Random offers of enrollment to oversubscribed charter schools resulted in positive impacts of such school attendance on math achievement but had no impact on cognitive skills. These findings suggest that schools that improve standardized achievement-test scores do so primarily through channels other than improving cognitive skills.

Concepts: Psychometrics, High school, Test, Educational assessment and evaluation, Standardized test, Test score, Charter school, Aptitude


Assessments represent an important component of undergraduate courses because they affect how students interact with course content and gauge student achievement of course objectives. To make decisions on assessment design, instructors must understand the affordances and limitations of available question formats. Here, we use a crossover experimental design to identify differences in how multiple-true-false (MTF) and free-response (FR) exam questions reveal student thinking regarding specific conceptions. We report that correct response rates correlate across the two formats but that a higher percentage of students provide correct responses for MTF questions. We find that MTF questions reveal a high prevalence of students with mixed (correct and incorrect) conceptions, while FR questions reveal a high prevalence of students with partial (correct and unclear) conceptions. These results suggest that MTF question prompts can direct students to address specific conceptions but obscure nuances in student thinking and may overestimate the frequency of particular conceptions. Conversely, FR questions provide a more authentic portrait of student thinking but may face limitations in their ability to diagnose specific, particularly incorrect, conceptions. We further discuss an intrinsic tension between question structure and diagnostic capacity and how instructors might use multiple formats or hybrid formats to overcome these obstacles.

Concepts: Statistics, Assessment, Test, Aptitude