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Are the 'U.S. News' Medical School Rankings for Primary Care Education Relevant?
Date:7/9/2013

ent ratio” or the ratio of science and clinical faculty to students. A school might have a large faculty, resulting in a relatively high faculty/student ratio, yet few of the faculty may be involved in primary care education. The researchers also questioned the relevance of the “selectivity rank” metric, which included mean MCAT scores, undergraduate GPAs and acceptance rates. Some evidence suggests that higher selectivity may work against students interested in primary care, who are more likely to be from under-represented groups and tend to have lower mean standardized testing scores.

The team then experimented with an alternative ranking methodology by removing some of the problematic elements of the "U.S. News & World Report" methodology, including the “faculty/student ratio” and “selectivity rank” measures. In a second alternate methodology, they also revised the “graduates entering primary care” measure, estimating conservatively that half of medical school graduates selecting residencies in internal medicine or pediatrics were destined to practice primary care. These changes produced major differences when compared to the published rankings, as this table from the study shows: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/news/pdf/Reconstructed-rankings-chart2013.pdf

The revised ranking methodologies were not intended to supersede the "U.S. News & World Report" results but rather to highlight their arbitrariness and sensitivity to changes in key assumptions.

The research team’s findings also highlight a profound problem -- there are no other widely available statistical analyses related to the quality of medical schools.

“The 'U.S. News' rankings are often considered ‘gold standard’ measures of how good a medical school is,” said Jerant. “Yet there is nothing to compare the rankings again
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