Medical students’ assessment preferences at King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
Tarek Tawfik Amin1, Feroze Kaliyadan2, Nouria Saab Al-Muhaidib3
1Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo, Egypt; 2Department of Internal Medicine, Dermatology Section; 3Vice Dean for Female Students, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
Objective: To assess the preferred methods for assessment among medical students at both preclinical and clinical stages of medical education and the possible correlates that promote these preferences.
Subjects and methods: All medical students from the third year onwards were surveyed. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was designed to gather information on the preferred assessment method for course achievement. The preferred methods were also evaluated in relation to cognitive functions. Preference for specific exam format, in the form of multiple choices, short essay questions, or both, and the stated reasons for that preference, was also included in the questionnaire.
Results: Out of 310 questionnaires distributed, 238 were returned. Written tests, projects, portfolios, and take home exams were the preferred modes for assessing students’achievements in a course; oral tests including a viva voce were the least preferred type of assessment. Questions that tested the domains of ‘understanding’ and ‘application’ were the most preferred type while those entailing ‘analysis’ were the least preferred. Multiple choice question format was the most preferred type of question (68.7%) at both pre- and clinical stages.
Conclusion: Students’ assessments at the College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia, do not use the full range of cognitive domains. The emphasis on higher domains for medical students’ assessment incorporating critical thinking should increase as the students’ progress through their medical courses.
Keywords: medical students, assessment, exams, multiple choices, essay
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