Selection & Assessment: performance, well-being, and diversity

Why selection and assessment?

Worldwide, the number of students applying for medical school is much larger than the available positions. The challenge of medical schools is to attract and select a diverse student population whose interests and abilities match the educational program and societal needs. In addition, medical schools are responsible for optimizing assessment to stimulate learning and reflect study progress in a fair and valid way. Therefore, the selection and assessment of medical students is a high stakes process for both (potential) students and medical programs.

Selection is defined as the process by which medical programs distinguish between potential students. Once students have entered the medical program, the medical program is responsible for ensuring sufficient academic performance. Therefore, medical schools use assessment, which is defined as the process of collecting information to determine whether (future) health professionals have mastered required competences.

This research topic aims to improve educational practice and policy regarding selection and assessment to ensure a diverse pool of resilient health professionals who meet societal needs. Our research covers the whole educational trajectory of medical school: from selection of pre-university candidates to assessment in residency programs, including performance-based assessment.

What do we investigate?

To positively contribute to inclusive selection and assessment policies that stimulate learning, iMERR investigates the characteristics that can affect performance, well-being and diversity of the student population.


Medical schools are responsible for training their students to become qualified doctors. Therefore, we investigate how selection and assessment can impact that purpose. For example, we study which selection methods are good predictors of academic performance and how assessment policies and student characteristics can affect study progress.


The prevalence of mental distress among medical students is high. Consequently, medical schools should monitor how the well-being of their students is affected by the selection and assessment policies. Examples of research conducted at iMERR are the association between selection methods and student well-being during the program, as well as how student and institutional characteristics interact with student well-being.


Student diversity is important for promoting excellence in medical education and to ensure high quality health care for a diverse patient population. We focus on how medical schools can attract, select, include and retain underrepresented subgroups such as students with a migration background and/or low socioeconomic status. For instance, we study how selection methods can impact student diversity and potential bias in the assessment of professional skills.

Performance, well-being and student diversity are intertwined. A specific assessment policy can, for example, stimulate academic performance but at the same time harm student well-being and/or hamper student diversity. Hence, we study these topics in a holistic way to ensure a diverse pool of resilient health professionals who meet societal needs.


We collaborate with national and international research groups with advanced expertise in different medical, psychological and social disciplines which enables multidisciplinary approaches and the application of innovative methods. In addition, we collaborate with educational directors, both locally and (inter)nationally, teachers and policy makers to collect research data and improve educational policy. Furthermore, we participate in expertise panels and networks to share our knowledge and improve educational policy worldwide.

Meet the researchers

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Vera Broks PhD candidate
Sanjay van Buel PhD candidate
Suzanne Fikrat-Wevers PhD candidate
Karen Stegers-Jager Assistant Professor
Joris Steinmann Researcher
Andrea Woltman Scientific Director