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The academic underperformance of medical students from ethnic minorities

Woolf, Katherine; (2009) The academic underperformance of medical students from ethnic minorities. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents a series of quantitative and qualitative studies, conducted with UCL Medical School students, which aimed to answer the following research question “which factors influence the differential performance of ethnic minority and white medical students in undergraduate assessments?” The first study explored the reliability and magnitude of the ethnic gap in attainment in Years 1, 2 and 3 of UCL Medical School. Results showed that within Years the gap was reliable over time, and that it was greatest in Year 3. The second study used a questionnaire to examine whether demographic and psychological factors might mediate the statistical relationship between ethnic group and academic performance in Years 1 and 3. Results showed that whilst ethnic minority and white students did differ on a number of factors, this could not explain the entire ethnic gap in attainment. The third study used qualitative interview methods to explore how Year 3 medical students and clinical teachers perceived the factors affecting learning and teaching in the clinical environment, including ethnic group. Results showed that some clinical teachers and students held negative stereotypical views about Asian medical students. Three hypothesised mechanisms for how stereotyping might negatively affect Asian students’ performance in examinations were generated. The fourth study experimentally investigated the effects of a social intervention designed to minimise some of the hypothesised negative effects of stereotyping and narrow the ethnic gap in attainment. Results showed that the intervention did narrow the gap as predicted, but unexpectedly this was due to changed performance in the white rather than the ethnic minority group. These results are discussed in terms of the complexities of research involving ethnicity and the multi-factorial nature of the influences on learning at medical school.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The academic underperformance of medical students from ethnic minorities
Event: University of London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Ethnicity, medical education, medicine, education, achievement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044781
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