Medical University admission test: a confirmatory factor analysis of the results
Background: The Graz Admission Test has been applied since the academic year 2006/2007. The validity of the Test was demonstrated by a significant improvement of study success and a significant reduction of dropout rate. The purpose of this study was a detailed analysis of the internal correlation structure of the various components of the Graz Admission Test. In particular, the question investigated was whether or not the various test parts constitute a suitable construct which might be designated as “Basic Knowledge in Natural Science.”
Methods: This study is an observational investigation, analyzing the results of the Graz Admission Test for the study of human medicine and dentistry. A total of 4741 applicants were included in the analysis. Principal component factor analysis (PCFA) as well as techniques from structural equation modeling, specifically confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), were employed to detect potential underlying latent variables governing the behavior of the measured variables.
Results: PCFA showed good clustering of the science test parts, including also text comprehension. A putative latent variable “Basic Knowledge in Natural Science,” investigated by CFA, was indeed shown to govern the response behavior of the applicants in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics as well as text comprehension. The analysis of the correlation structure of the various test parts confirmed that the science test parts together with text comprehension constitute a satisfactory instrument for measuring a latent construct variable “Basic Knowledge in Natural Science.”
Conclusions: The present results suggest the fundamental importance of basic science knowledge for results obtained in the framework of the admission process for medical universities.