Many medical schools use admissions Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMIs) rather than traditional interviews (TIs), partly because MMIs are thought to be more reliable. Yet prior studies examined single-school samples of candidates completing either an MMI or TI (not both). Using data from five California public medical schools, the authors examined the within- and between-school reliabilities of TIs and MMIs.
The analyses included applicants interviewing at ≥1 of the five schools during 2011-2013. Three schools employed TIs (TI1, TI2, TI3) and two employed MMIs (MMI1, MMI2). Mixed linear models accounting for nesting of observations within applicants examined standardized TI and MMI scores (mean = 0, SD = 1), adjusting for applicant socio-demographics, academic metrics, year, number of interviews, and interview date.
A total of 4993 individuals (completing 7516 interviews [TI = 4137, MMI = 3379]) interviewed at ≥1 school; 428 (14.5%) interviewed at both MMI schools and 687 (20.2%) at more than one TI school. Within schools, inter-interviewer consistency was generally qualitatively lower for TI1, TI2, and TI3 (Pearson's r 0.07, 0.13, and 0.29, and Cronbach's α, 0.40, 0.44, and 0.61, respectively) than for MMI1 and MMI 2 (Cronbach's α 0.68 and 0.60, respectively). Between schools, the adjusted intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.27 (95% CI 0.20-0.35) for TIs and 0.47 (95% CI 0.41-0.54) for MMIs.
Within and between-school reliability was qualitatively higher for MMIs than for TIs. Nonetheless, TI reliabilities were higher than anticipated from prior literature, suggesting TIs may not need to be abandoned on reliability grounds if other factors favor their use.