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What is Acuity Insights?

CASPer Preparation Specialists

Acuity Insights is the new name for the company operating the tests previously run by Altus Assessments, which itself is the result of more than 15 years of work by a team originally from a Canadian university. Through understanding the shift in the company’s name and objectives, one can understand a little about the changes that have been made to their core product, CASPer. To summarise their aspirations, Acuity Insights state that, ‘it takes more than grades and test scores to become a successful professional. Our admissions assessments support a holistic review process by providing admissions teams with more data about each applicant.’

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Overall Information on Acuity Insights & Assessments

Acuity Insights offer a ‘collection of assessments’ which are designed to ‘give applicants the opportunity for programs to get know them better’ (a slightly enigmatic phrase which in reality simply means that a program can gather more data on you, as efficiently as possible), and that these assessments are designed to be used early in the admissions process, thus allowing candidates to stand out from one another at the outset. Overall, there are three core parts of Acuity Insights Assessments, which are:

  • Casper – an open-response, situational judgement test that evaluates aspects of applicants’ social intelligence and professionalism such as ethics, empathy, problem-solving and collaboration.
  • Snapshot – a short, one-way video interview that further probes applicants’ communication skills, self reflection and motivation for the profession. Snapshot is available only to select programs for the 22/23 cycle.
  • Duet – a value-alignment assessment that compares what applicants value most in a program to what the programs have to offer (only applies to applicants to US undergraduate and graduate medical programs).

The goal of Acuity Insights is that the tools can be used together to create a ‘complete picture of who you are’ allowing programs in turn to understand you as a candidate, rather than merely as your grades. Therefore, each different part of the assessments process has been designed to focus on particular personal and professional attributes – which you can find more information on in our specific guides covering the CASPer exam and its core competencies. Some programs will allow you to sit both CASPer and Duet, giving you multiple opportunities to show that you are suitable for the program in question.

CASPer and Duet are primarily targeted at Medical Education. They are part of a wider package from Acuity Insights that covers not just admissions, but also program management, assessment, and accreditation.’ As such, you should consider this one of a package of tools used to assess you, and be prepared to utilise your own tools to ensure that the data collected on you represents you as best as is possible.

CASPer

There is much more information available on CASPer throughout our site. However, the latest information from Acuity Insights states that:

‘Casper supports the holistic review of applicants beyond their GPA, MCAT/GMAT, Dean’s letter, and other traditional admissions criteria.’ They add that it is designed to provide a standardised ‘evaluation of social intelligence and professionalism’ and that it reduces the chance of ‘gaming the system’ – in reality its core attraction to universities is its ability to prove a ‘single score which is easily integrated into your admissions process.’ The test is the result of more than 15 years worth of research, as stated above, and Acuity Insights states that it ‘delivers strong validity and reliability, tested across programs and verticals,’ as well as that it ‘ensures consistently lower demographic differences relative to other admissions assessments.’

You can make your own assessments on the true nature of the test and its motivation, or the motivation of institutions that use it – whether it is really a perfect barometer of candidates’ social intelligence and professionalism, or simply an easily-defended metric to make admissions more efficient. However, you must accept that it does exist – and that despite that Acuity Insights state, you can ‘game the system’ – as research on SJTs has proven.

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Duet

Duet is designed to be ‘more objective than measures such as personal statements, Dean’s letters, and interviews.’ Applicants’ personal priorities and values are compared to those that have been set out by the program faculty, across three different categories, each with 7 program characteristics. Duet is evidence based and ‘97% of applicants feel Duet is representative of their priorities and values.’

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