Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/41297
Citations
Scopus Web of Science® Altmetric
?
?
Type: Journal article
Title: Assessment of higher order cognitive skills in undergraduate education: Modified essay or multiple choice questions? Research paper
Author: Palmer, E.
Devitt, P.
Citation: BMC Medical Education, 2007; 7(1):49-55
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 1472-6920
1472-6920
Organisation: Centre for Learning and Professional Development
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Edward J Palmer, Peter G Devitt
Abstract: Background: Reliable and valid written tests of higher cognitive function are difficult to produce, particularly for the assessment of clinical problem solving. Modified Essay Questions (MEQs) are often used to assess these higher order abilities in preference to other forms of assessment, including multiple-choice questions (MCQs). MEQs often form a vital component of end-of-course assessments in higher education. It is not clear how effectively these questions assess higher order cognitive skills. This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of the MEQ to measure higher-order cognitive skills in an undergraduate institution. Methods: An analysis of multiple-choice questions and modified essay questions (MEQs) used for summative assessment in a clinical undergraduate curriculum was undertaken. A total of 50 MCQs and 139 stages of MEQs were examined, which came from three exams run over two years. The effectiveness of the questions was determined by two assessors and was defined by the questions ability to measure higher cognitive skills, as determined by a modification of Bloom's taxonomy, and its quality as determined by the presence of item writing flaws. Results: Over 50% of all of the MEQs tested factual recall. This was similar to the percentage of MCQs testing factual recall. The modified essay question failed in its role of consistently assessing higher cognitive skills whereas the MCQ frequently tested more than mere recall of knowledge. Conclusion: Construction of MEQs, which will assess higher order cognitive skills cannot be assumed to be a simple task. Well-constructed MCQs should be considered a satisfactory replacement for MEQs if the MEQs cannot be designed to adequately test higher order skills. Such MCQs are capable of withstanding the intellectual and statistical scrutiny imposed by a high stakes exit examination.
Keywords: Humans; Reproducibility of Results; Cognition; Problem Solving; Psychometrics; Education, Medical, Undergraduate; Educational Measurement; South Australia
Rights: © 2007 Palmer and Devitt; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
RMID: 0020074140
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-7-49
Published version: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/7/49
Appears in Collections:Surgery publications

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
hdl_41297.pdfPublished version427.57 kBAdobe PDFView/Open


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.