'The Next Stage Review: A High Quality Workforce' advised developing more reliable and valid selection tools for recruitment to Foundation Programme training.
This recommendation was informed by concerns about the previously existing selection system, which ranked applicants using a combined score derived from answers to a set of "white space" questions and an academic quartile ranking provided by the applicant's medical school.
The following key concerns relating to the previous process were identified:
• Applicants answered "white space" questions in their own time, which made it harder to ensure that the work was their own
• Marking the "white space" questions was labour intensive
• Quartiles were calculated differently by each medical school.
In order to address these matters, the Medical Schools Council was commissioned by the Department of Health to lead a Project Group, which prepared an Option Appraisal of the approaches to selection of applicants to the UK Foundation Programme.
The recommended options, a Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and an Educational Performance Measure (EPM) were defined, developed and piloted in 2010-2011. The results of the pilots and of the full-scale Parallel Recruitment Exercise have been analysed and evaluated.
These activities taken in the framework of the ISFP Project led to the decision that the selection to the Foundation Programme 2013 will be based upon:
• An invigilated SJT to assess aptitude for the Foundation Programme (to replace "white space" questions); and
• An EPM to reflect educational performance at medical school up to the point of application to the Foundation Programme (to replace quartiles).