Comparative Study of Medical Education Assessment formats (Best choice questions Vs Short essay questions) and Its Impact on Medical Students

The purpose of the research is to appraise Medical students’ outlook towards methods of medical education assessment methodology and whether the predilection has impacted the academic results. This cross-sectional study was conducted on 300 randomly selected medical students (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - M.B., B.S) from all accredited medical colleges from University of Karachi. The students have biased views regarding the format of assessment. Students believe BCQs are superior to online SEQs at assessing clinical concepts; 85% of students agreed that BCQs assess clinical concepts; However, only 48% believe the same about SEQs.

Furthermore, the results revealed that a significant number of students 75.67% believed BCQs require a thorough studying of the course while only 52.33% of students believed the same of SEQs. Consistent with this result was that 52% preferred the format of assessment was BCQs when they had studied thoroughly.

Conclusive evidence presented that students perceived the multiple choice format a better assessment of clinical concepts and problem solving skills than short essay questions. Also observed was that cramming helps more in SEQs while studying thoroughly in a course aids solving BCQs. Since the results varied meticulously between SEQs and BCQs, it is to be assumed that neither format is sufficient for complete assessment of students’ distinction in a subject. Also, an altered form of assessment has caused students to be more thorough with their courses. It is however proposed that further control trials be carried out to assess students’ examination skills.

Author(s): Naima Sabah, Pashmeen Lakhani*, Rubab Abid, Samima Sabah, Shaista Devi, Komal Devi

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