Evaluation of a Gender Gap in Student Academic Performance of an Integrated Hybrid Curriculum
Wenzel Hesse, DeLoris
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PURPOSE Studies have shown that gender differences exist for performance on both the MCAT and the USMLE Step 1 exam. Data show that men outperform women even when controlling for prematriculation factors. In addition, other studies have also documented gender differences in academic performance within specific curricula. This gap has been reported to narrow or even reverse throughout UME with women outperforming men on the USMLE Step 2 CK exam. A proposed cause for the gender gap in basic science content performance is curricular structure, specifically the integration (or lack thereof) of basic and clinical science materials. Thus, we hypothesize that students in an integrated hybrid curriculum may have a gender gap initially, but that this gap would disappear or reverse over the curriculum. METHODS To determine if a gender gap exists in academic performance on our campus, we compared summative assessment of groups of men and women for the first two years of our four-year UME curriculum. These formative assessments included anatomy exams and module final exams during the basic science years. Future analysis will include clerkship shelf exams and NBME practice exams. RESULTS Initial analysis of summative assessment data from anatomy exams and module final exams show a gender gap does exist, with men outperforming women for year 1 of the curriculum. Preliminary analysis suggests that this gap may decrease from year 1 to year 2. Further analysis of multiple classes, as well as standardized exams, is now underway. CONCLUSION Preliminary analysis has suggested a gender gap in academic performance early within our curriculum, thus warranting further investigation. We will expand our preliminary data analysis at our campus, compare with other curricula, and begin to investigate causes for gender gaps within UME.