1). Students will have the knowledge of chemical, biological, and physical science concepts necessary for entrance examinations such as the MCAT, DAT, OAT, etc. and for entrance into a health science field.
Standardized entrance exams continue to be an increasingly important component in student applications to medicine, optometry, and dentistry professional schools. The attached data compares UNK average test scores with the national averages for the MCAT, OAT, and DAT exams from 1997 – 2004. The UNK average test scores are very comparable to the results from the previous Assessment Reports.
The largest area of concern remains the composite MCAT average which continues to be approximately two points lower than the national average. The DAT average is more comparable to national average and remains only a half of a point lower. The OAT test continues to be the test on which UNK students enjoy the most success. This year the UNK average is approximately four points above the national average.
Examination of individual subsections of these tests show very similar results as compared to the last analysis. On the MCAT students continued to score higher in the Biological Sciences (which includes organic chemistry questions on the MCAT) than they did in the other science portions of that, while the Physical Sciences section was the lowest. This section includes questions from both Physics and General Chemistry. The largest discrepancy between the UNK MCAT averages and the National Averages was in this section. For the DAT, this year the Organic Chemistry section was the highest while General Chemistry and Biology were just slightly lower. Physics is not included in the DAT.
Of the sciences examined in the OAT, students again scored the highest in the Organic Chemistry section. Students continue to score the lowest on the Physics section and this was the only section of the OAT in which UNK students scored below the national average in any significant way.
The placement/acceptance statistics are slightly higher for this assessment period with a slightly larger number of total applicants. The statistics show that UNK students continue to be very successful overall in gaining acceptance to professional schools and clinical programs. The ten year average for all UNK applicants in all Health Science Programs remains ~70%. Every year, UNK is above the national average of accepted applicants for most programs. For example, most pharmacy programs will receive at least three applications for every position available. For the past ten years, UNK has had approximately a 65% acceptance rate to pharmacy schools. Similarly, most medical schools have approximately a 3 to 1 ratio of applicants to available positions, resulting in a ~ 33% acceptance rate nationwide. The UNK acceptance rate to medical school has never been below this average. Most notably, in past seven years, the acceptance rate for optometry students has been 93% with 27 out of 29 students gaining admission.
The final assessment measure of student knowledge was a survey of professional schools and clinical programs to which our students apply. The professional schools and programs that were surveyed also rated UNK students a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of science and math preparation. Most programs to which our students apply also calculate a separate science and math GPA that plays heavily in admission decisions and based on the acceptance success of UNK students; this also points towards sufficient preparation.
Based on these pieces of information, the overall science and math preparation of UNK students appears to continue to be sufficient for acceptance and entrance in a health science professional school.
The courses in which the content of these entrance exams is covered are outside of the Health Programs department, and therefore, it is not possible for this office to make curricular changes in order to improve these scores. However, the purpose of examining these scores is to provide this information to the academic departments at UNK for their review and discussion and to provide this information to the applicants. The Director will continue to use the information to advise students in regards to test preparation and to convince students about the importance of solid preparation. The Health Programs Office has increased the number of test preparation materials available for student checkout and encourage student study groups and practice testing and will continue to improve its offerings. The information is also used to advise students on selecting courses that will best prepare them for entrance exams.
Examination of UNK’s acceptance statistics shows that UNK students continue to be very successful overall at gaining admission. Therefore, no changes are being recommended based on this information at this time.