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Why do medical students fail? a study of 1st year medical students and the educational context

Popovic, Celia Frances (2007)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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A third of medical students at Birmingham Medical School fail one or more first year exams. Alarm has been raised about the apparent over-representation of ethnic minority students amongst those who fail. In this case study I ask: 1. Is there a connection between students’ ethnicity and performance in end of first year exams? 2. Is the experience of medical students at this medical school conducive to effective learning? 3. What, if anything, could be done to improve students’ learning? I show that there is a link between particular students and exam performance, but the link is with socio-economic background, not ethnicity. Students from a privileged background appear to perform better than students from a disadvantaged background. I argue that this may be due to an environment which is not conducive to effective learning. Using a range of research methods I describe how students are expected to support themselves intellectually to become independent learners while passive educational methods such as lectures and a heavy timetable are favoured and students receive limited formative feedback on their progress. The study ends positively, however, as I identify improvements that could be, and in some instances have been, made to the environment.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Pilkington, Rachel
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
Subjects:LB Theory and practice of education
R Medicine (General)
LB2300 Higher Education
L Education (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:223
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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