A retrospective comparative study of multiple choice questions versus short answer questions as assessment tool in evaluating the performance of the students in medical pharmacology

Yogeeta Sushant C. Walke, Amey S. Kamat, Sushama A. Bhounsule


Background: The aim was to assess the effectiveness of multiple choice versus short answer questions (SAQs) as assessment tools for evaluating performance of 2nd MBBS students.

Methods: The study was observational, retrospective study of written pen and paper type assessment that utilized a sample of 100 2nd year medical students. Study consisted of two parts; part I was multiple-choice questions (MCQs) based on endocrine system where four options were given for a question and the single best answer was to be ticked. MCQ was timed at 20 mins for 30 questions with 1 mark each. There was no negative marking. Part II was SAQ on same system where 16 SAQ were given. SAQ was timed at 60 mins for 30 marks questions. After the test students had to reply on a feedback form.

Result: There was a strong correlation between the marks scored in two formats of test and there was no statistical difference between the two set of marks.

Conclusion: SAQs are as effective as MCQs in assessing the performance of the students in medical pharmacology.


Short answer, Multiple choice, Assessment, Tool, Effective

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