An Assessment of a Premedical Program in Terms of its Ability to Serve Black Americans


Department of Biology

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If special programs to increase the number of blacks gaining entry into health professional schools can identify whom they best serve, changes in either the selection process or the curriculum can increase their effectiveness. As one part of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the various components of the prehealth professions program at Xavier University of Louisiana (XU), black freshmen entering the university from 1981 to 1983 in the university's premedical program were tracked to determine who gained entry into medical and related mainline health professional schools upon graduation.

The analyses indicate that high-ability black freshmen entering Xavier are more than twice as likely to gain admission into medical school than are their black counterparts nationally, and that this difference is statistically significant beyond the 99 percent level. Fifty-seven percent of high-ability black freshmen (those with American College Testing [ACT] composite scores of 24 or above, the top 2 percent of blacks nationally) who entered XU's biology or chemistry programs during the period under study gained entry into medical school upon graduation, whereas a study by the Educational Testing Service indicates that only 24 percent of similar blacks nationally gain entry into any graduate or professional school.

The present study suggests that XU's premedical program serves those blacks who are not in the high-ability group (those whose ACT scores are below 24) at least as well (relative to the national average) as it does the top students. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that XU's premedical program is successful because it increases the probability that students gain admission into health professional schools rather than because of any preselection of students. These results are similar to those obtained from a comparable analysis of XU's prepharmacy program, the other component of prehealth at Xavier.


PubMed ID: 3249314