Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

An Examination of Correlations between MMI Scores and Pharmacy School GPA

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

An Examination of Correlations between MMI Scores and Pharmacy School GPA

Article excerpt


The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) requires doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs to conduct standardized interviews of applicants to evaluate verbal and written communication skills, understanding of the pharmacy profession, and commitment to patient care. (1) As the role of the pharmacist continues to advance beyond dispensing medications, the admissions process for pharmacy colleges and schools must attempt to assess not only cognitive measures such as undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores as predictors of success as a pharmacist, but also noncognitive measures.

The University of South Florida College of Pharmacy (USFCOP) was established in 2009 and matriculated the first cohort of PharmD students in fall 2011. Students in the program complete three years of didactic study and one year of advanced experiential education. The college implemented a holistic approach to the admissions process using the multiple mini-interview (MMI) to aid in the assessment of noncognitive skills outside the realm of GPA and PCAT scores. The MMI was made popular through use in medical school admissions and has been validated to assess emotional intelligence, and ethical and moral decision making in medical school applicants. (2)

The MMI resembles an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) with multiple stations that focus solely on assessing noncognitive characteristics. The interviewer is blinded to the applicant's admission application, thereby reducing the possibility of bias. In 2001, the School of Medicine at McMaster University began developing the MMI with the intention of increasing the validity of the admissions interview process for noncognitive skills.

The usefulness of the MMI comes from its ability to overcome poor test-retest reliability and context specificity when measurements of a particular attribute in one context may not transfer to another. (3) The MMI format reduces interviewer bias and buffers against marked shifts in scores when many scores are collected on the same candidate. (3) Moreover, the MMI is a reliable assessment to measure a candidate's abilities. When the number of stations in a MMI circuit is maximized, overall reliability is improved compared to increasing the number of interviewers at MMI stations. (3,4) This may suggest that higher reliability is obtained through multiple encounters compared with standard interview formats, which typically include one or two interviewers and one interviewee in a single encounter.

According to the literature, a number of pharmacy schools in North America are replacing the traditional interview process with the MMI because of its validity and ability to assess emotional intelligence of applicants. (5) In a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program, the psychometric properties of the MMI as an assessment tool have been demonstrated. (6) However, to date only student/faculty perceptions, feasibility, and pilot testing of the MMI in the pharmacy school admissions process is described in the literature. (7) It is well-documented that prepharmacy GPA, PCAT score, and the completion of a degree is correlated to success in pharmacy school. (8) However, the investigations of the impact of MMI scores on GPA in PharmD programs is lacking. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the association between MMI scores and GPA among PharmD students.


The study used archival data from the Office of Assessment at the USFCOP and a convenience sample of all students in the first three cohorts at the college. Data were originally collected as part of admissions and academic progress monitoring. The raw data are stored in a longitudinal database with access restricted to college administration only. The study was approved by the USF Institutional Review Board, and all data were de-identified to protect student confidentiality. …

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