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Letters to the Editor  |   September 2005
Attention Applicants: Please Submit Emotional Intelligence Scores
Author Affiliations
  • Donald J. Sefcik, DO, MBA
    Associate Dean and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine Midwestern University's Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Downers Grove, Ill
Article Information
Medical Education / Medical School Admissions / COMLEX-USA
Letters to the Editor   |   September 2005
Attention Applicants: Please Submit Emotional Intelligence Scores
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2005, Vol. 105, 401-402. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.9.401
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2005, Vol. 105, 401-402. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.9.401
To the Editor:  
The variables used to select medical school applicants should be robust and provide practical information. They should be valid, reliable, transferable from one context to another, and demonstrate candidates' effectiveness in decision-making processes. 
As medical school applicants progressed from high school through college, they demonstrated the ability to learn new material (ie, aptitude). Their undergraduate grade-point averages (GPAs) and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores confirm that they have learned a substantial body of knowledge (ie, achievement). 
Since 2000, JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has published 12 articles examining various relationships between academic achievement and performance on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).112 The most analyzed variables have been MCAT scores,1,4,69,12 undergraduate GPAs,1,4,7,12 individual course grades in osteopathic medical school,1,4,5,7,10 and osteopathic medical school GPAs.1,2,412 A number of conclusions are evident from these findings. 
First, the grades osteopathic medical students receive in individual medical school courses and their medical school GPAs are much better predictors of COMLEX-USA performance than are MCAT scores and undergraduate GPAs.1,2,412 The former variables explain up to 72% of the variance in COMLEX-USA scores, while the latter only explain up to 20%.1,2,412 The corollary of this statement is that COMLEX-USA performance is at least 80% dependent upon factors that seem unrelated to undergraduate GPAs and MCAT scores. We are left to wonder what these unnamed variables comprising 80% of students' potential success—as measured by COMLEX-USA—might be. 
The affective domain includes patterns of behavior that signify one's response to emotions. These characteristics may hold the answer for osteopathic medical schools that are seeking to screen and evaluate applicants for the personal traits that will help them become successful as medical students. 
In a 2002 book titled Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Golman et al13 describe emotional competence as a capability, based on “emotional intelligence,”14 that is related to success at work. Emotional competence is the product of varying degrees of personal competence (self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation) and social competence (empathy and social skills). 
Goleman14 reports that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of career success than cognitive ability as measured through standard intelligence quotient tests. One study analyzed employees from 40 companies and demonstrated that emotional intelligence could differentiate the star performers (upper 10%) from average performers.15 In fact, emotional intelligence was twice as important as the results of standard intelligence tests in identifying the most successful employees.15 
Presently, the selection of successful candidates appears to be more a matter of art than science, as admissions committees at osteopathic medical schools choose their candidates based on objective variables (ie, measures of aptitude and achievement) that predict—at best—20% of COMLEX-USA performance. 
I submit that the selection process for osteopathic medical school admission could be ideally served through the creation and validation of reliable assessment tools that identify potential star performers who have the qualities related to the “best” affect or emotional intelligence. 
 As the premier scholarly publication of the osteopathic medical profession, JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association encourages osteopathic physicians, faculty members and students at osteopathic medical colleges, and others within the healthcare professions to submit comments related to articles published in JAOA and the mission of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA's editors are particularly interested in letters that discuss recently published original research.
 
 Letters to the editor are considered for publication in JAOA with the understanding that they have not been published elsewhere and that they are not simultaneously under consideration by any other publication.
 
 All accepted letters to the editor are subject to copyediting. Letter writers may be asked to provide JAOA staff with photocopies of referenced material so that the references themselves and statements cited may be verified.
 
 Readers are encouraged to prepare letters electronically in Microsoft Word (.doc) or in plain (.txt) or rich text (.rtf) format. The JAOA prefers that letters be e-mailed to jaoa@osteopathic.org. Mailed letters should also be sent electronically, in one of the aforementioned electronic formats on an IBM-compatible CD or a 3 ½-inch disk, and addressed to Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO, Editor in Chief, American Osteopathic Association, 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864.
 
 Letter writers must include their full professional titles and affiliations, complete preferred mailing addresses, day and evening telephone numbers, fax numbers, and preferred e-mail addresses. Authors are responsible for disclosing financial associations and other conflicts of interest.
 
 Although JAOA cannot acknowledge the receipt of letters, a JAOA staff member will notify writers whose letters have been accepted for publication. Mailed submissions and supporting materials will not be returned unless authors provide self-addressed, stamped envelopes with their submissions.
 
 All osteopathic physicians who have letters published in JAOA receive continuing medical education (CME) credit for their contributions. Writers of original letters receive 5 hours of AOA Category 1-B CME credit. Authors of published articles who respond to letters about their research receive 3 hours of Category 1-B CME credit for their responses.
 
 Although JAOA welcomes letters to the editor, readers should be aware that these contributions have a lower publication priority than other submissions. As a consequence, letters are published only when space allows.
 
Baker HH, Cope MK, Fisk R, Gorby JN, Foster RW. Relationship of preadmission variables and first- and second-year course performance to performance on the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners' COMLEX-USA Level 1 examination. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2000). ;100:153-161. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/100/3/153. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Baker HH, Foster RW, Bates BP, Cope MK, McWilliams TE, Musser A, et al. Relationship between academic achievement and COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance: a multisite study. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2000). ;100:238-242. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/100/4/238. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Graneto J. Testing osteopathic medical school graduates for licensure: is COMLEX-USA the most appropriate examination? J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2001;101:26-32. Available at http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/101/1/26. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Cope MK, Baker HH, Fisk R, Gorby JN, Foster RW. Prediction of student performance on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination Level I based on admission data and course performance. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2001). ;101: 84-90. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/101/2/84. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Hartman SE, Bates BP, Sprafka SA. Correlation of scores for the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination with osteopathic medical school grades. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2001). ;101:347-349. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/101/6/347. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Agostini DE, Stano AS, Parente DH. Student performance on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA level 2 following a clinical evaluation, feedback, and intervention program. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002;102:477-480. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/102/9/477. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Meoli FG, Wallace WS, Kaiser-Smith J, Shen L. Relationship of osteopathic medical licensure examinations with undergraduate admission measures and predictive value of identifying future performance in osteopathic principles and practice/osteopathic manipulative medicine courses and rotations. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2002). ;102:615-620. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/102/11/615. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Gimpel JR, Boulet DO, Errichetti AM. Evaluating the clinical skills of osteopathic medical students. J Am Osteopath Assoc.. (2003). ;103:267-279. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/103/6/267. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Evans P, Goodson LB, Schoffman SI. Relationship between academic achievement and student performance on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA level 2. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2003;103:331-336. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/103/7/331. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Sefcik DJ, Prozialeck WC, O'Hare TH. Characteristics of the courses that best predict COMLEX-USA level 1 performance. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2003;103:491-494. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/103/6/267. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Evans P, Goodson LB, Schoffman SI, Baker HH. Relations between academic performance by medical students and COMLEX-USA Level 2: a multisite analysis. JAm Osteopath Assoc.. (2003). ;103:551-556. Available at: http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/103/11/551. Accessed August 30, 2005.
Dixon D. Relation between variables of preadmission, medical school performance, and COMLEX-USA levels 1 and 2 performance. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2004;104:332-336.
Goleman D, McKee A, Boyatzis RE. Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Publishing; 2002.
Goleman D. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam Books;1995 .
Goleman D. Working with Emotional Intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books;1998 .