Drs. Cavanaugh, Gilbert, and Little Awarded ICVA Grant for Research

Jun 02, 2023
Sarah Cavanaugh

Congratulations to the 2022 ICVA Assessment Grant Winners Sarah M. Cavanaugh, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Cardiology); Robert O. Gilbert, BVSc, MMedVet, DACT, FRCVS; and W. Brady Little, DVM, MSc for their proposal, “Holistic admissions review: A tool to predict early performance in veterinary school including use of novel indicators.” All three investigators are from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Their study will analyze non-academic and academic application data and committee review scores of first-year veterinary students to develop a model to predict the likelihood of academic difficulty during the first and second semesters of the veterinary curriculum. Long term, the success of this study is likely to make veterinary education accessible to candidates who would otherwise be disadvantaged by existing paradigms.

“We hope to learn whether non-academic pre-veterinary factors, assessed as part of a holistic admissions review, influence academic performance in first-year veterinary students,” said Dr. Cavanaugh.

Holistic Review of Applicants

Robert Gilbert

A holistic review considers all attributes and experiences of an applicant rather than focusing too heavily on one metric or area of expertise.

The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine admissions committee has been utilizing holistic review for decades but has not formally studied the usefulness of holistic review for predicting academic performance — until now.

There is currently limited research assessing the usefulness of holistic review for predicting academic performance in veterinary medical school. Holistic review is becoming increasingly commonplace among veterinary and other health professions admissions committees — making this study especially important for future reference in the veterinary field.

Dr. Sarah M. Cavanaugh said in response to being awarded the grant, “Ross Vet is honored and grateful to have the support of ICVA and the opportunity to contribute to education research that impacts people and animals. The ICVA grant funds will help support all aspects of our project, from data collection to publication.”

About the Assessment Grant Winners

Brady Little headshot

Dr. Cavanaugh is a veterinary cardiologist, associate professor, and assistant dean of admissions at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM), and will be involved in the study design and data collection. Dr. Gilbert is associate dean for academic affairs / chief academic officer and professor of theriogenology at RUSVM, and is participating in the study design, as well as data analysis. Dr. Little is assistant professor of anatomy at RUSVM and will work on study data collection. All three will be involved in creating the final manuscript for publication.

For the original story in the International Council for Veterinary Assessment’s In Focus Newsletter, click here.

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