Assessment of learning with multiple-choice questions

Brady, Anne-Marie (2005) Assessment of learning with multiple-choice questions. pp. 238-242.


Nurse educators aspire to learning outcomes that will produce competent practitioners. Assessment strategies should be consistent with desired learning outcomes [Manogue, M., Kelly, M., Bartakova Masaryk, S., Brown, G., Catalanotto, F., Choo-Soo, T., Delap, E., Godoroja, P., Murio, I., Rotgans, J., Saag, M., 2002. Evolving methods of assessment. European Journal of Dental Education 6 (3) 53–66] and there is a requirement to diversify approaches. Objective testing, specifically multiple-choice questions (MCQ’s) are one of the approaches that may diversify the assessment approach in Irish undergraduate nursing education. In this paper, Quinn’s [Quinn, F.M., 2000. The Principles and Practice of Nurse Education, fourth ed., Stanley Thorne (Publishers) Ltd, Cheltenham] cardinal criteria of assessment, practicality, reliability, validity and discrimination provide a useful framework to discuss the issues associated with the implementation of this type of assessment strategy. MCQ examinations that are consistent with educational outcomes can be used to effectively assess aspects of student performance and can facilitate timely feedback and contribute to the process of self-learning. Significant commitment is required to prepare MCQ test items and examination formats that are reliable and consistent with curriculum objectives. Appropriately constructed MCQ examinations are efficient, objective, capable of discrimination and can be combined with other assessment strategies to contribute to a comprehensive student assessment strategy for use in nursing education.

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