CASPer™ Test Introduction

The CASPer™ test (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal characteristics) is an introduction to professional development of soft, or ‘non-cognitive’ skills. Most complaints against highly-trained professionals center around their personal and interactive traits rather than technical knowledge, and this applies to the field of medicine as well.

With ever more metrics applied to not only patient health, but patient dissatisfaction, resultant lawsuits, disciplinary action, and cost of replacement/retraining, it has become evident that the hiring and training process should acknowledge the qualities that minimize the above risks.

Progressive institutions such as McMaster University have led the charge by including it in their admissions process, and hence optimizing the fundamental talent pool through candidate selection. Many schools have transitioned from heavy reliance on the personal statement and letters of recommendation (which have the greatest capacity to ‘game’) to in-person interviews and the multiple-mini interview (MMI) as they recognize that live, time-limited interaction gives a truer representation of the individual. [1]

The CASPer™ test is a logical evolution from the MMI as it reduces bias by anonymizing and increasing the statistical sample size. Perhaps more importantly, it shifts the process away from faculty to produce a single quantifiable result to be used in evaluation. It is so valuable that CASPer™ accounts for a FULL THIRD of the quantifiable entrance score at McMaster, along with MCAT and GPA. (Globe & Mail article here.)

Not only does it save time by outsourcing the process, but by moving it to independent CASPer™ raters, who are themselves professionals, it includes the judgement of the population they are meant to serve while still preserving a lens of professional maturity.

In that sense it may more closely resemble the Situational Judgement Test being examined and rolled out by many companies as well as the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges)

For tests such as CASPer and the SJT, it is in the interests of the administrators to have students and prospects believe they cannot study for it to get a more genuine result. However, it is our experience that can indeed be prepared for, which means it will favour higher socio-economic classes. Additionally, the claim that bias is reduced may be valid over the MMI or intensive in-person interviews, however, bias according to accepted working culture (which defines the scoring rubric) may further segregate foreign applicants who would otherwise appear to be totally even when judged by grades and quantitative testing alone.

This is not altogether bad, as the purpose of these tests are to find a good cultural fit, but it may reduce diversity in spite of claims to bolster it.

While the purpose of this guide is to help you achieve a maximal CASPer™ score, it is our sincere hope you realize the best way to succeed is to develop into the person who scores well naturally, and that this is also the hope of your future patients and colleagues.

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CASPer Test introduction

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17895698

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19907396