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

What do we investigate?

This line of research aims to improve educational practice and policy to ensure a pool of resilient health professionals who meet societal needs. This research group contributes to the creation of an inclusive learning climate that optimally stimulates students and residents to perform and to discover and develop their unique potential. That is why this group not only investigates, but also develops selection and assessment tools that are both valid and fair and that do not harm the diversity or well-being of students/residents.

Using different research methods (descriptive, experimental, quantitative and qualitative), attention is paid to (i) Academic performance, (ii) Well-being, (iii) Selection and Matching, and (iv) Fair and valid assessment of professional skills. Attention for diversity and inclusion plays a central role in each theme. In addition, there is plenty of overlap between the various themes, resulting in good collaboration between the individual researchers within this group.


How to attract and select a diverse group of students/residents that meets societal needs?
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 students whose interests and abilities match the educational program. Therefore, the selection and admission of medical students is a high stakes process for both students and medical schools. Erasmus MC has had an exceptionally extensive data collection since 2001 and is a key player in national and international expert and advisory panels.

Selection methods, their validity and their effects on diversity and (perceptions of) well-being are focus of research and cover the whole continuum of medical education: from pre-university candidates to selection for residency programmes.

Recent work conducted at Erasmus MC showed that strong ethnicity-related disparities exist in medical school performance even after adjustments for age, gender, pre-university GPA and socio-demographic variables. A more subjective grading process cannot be ruled out as a cause of the lower grades in clinical training achieved by students from ethnic minority groups, but other explanations require further investigation.

A first question we aim to answer is whether non-Dutch students are less well prepared for clinical training, despite receiving the same pre-clinical training and if so, why this is the case. In addition, we aim to conduct more detailed experimental studies to understand the processes underlying judgement and decision making in clinical assessments. Finally, we are considering, designing, implementing and evaluating interventions for improvement, such as attempts to make assessment in clinical training less subjective and to create awareness of cultural bias by both students and assessors.



How to ensure (sufficient) progress, while maintaining student diversity and well-being?
IMERR’s research on study progress, student well-being and assessment of professional skills focuses on faculty, teacher and student characteristics. Erasmus MC medical school has a diverse student population as well as a (relatively) diverse group of healthcare workers and teachers. Together with colleagues from different scientific disciplines, iMERR examines the social, psychological and cultural factors that can affect the learning or performance of students from groups that are underrepresented in medical school (based on ethnicity, social background, gender) in preparation for selection, during selection processes and throughout the medical education continuum. There is not only explicit attention for the student, the assessment policy, the learning environment, etc., but also for the actions and training of the teacher.

iMERR is recognized nationally and internationally for its expertise in the field of diversity and inclusion. This is expressed in involvement in the national and Rotterdam Taskforce Diversity and Inclusion and international collaborations with, for example, researchers from Ghent University and the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf.


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