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Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety / David, Skibinski; Hugh, Jones; Colin, Restall; Ed, Dudley; Geertje, Van Keulen

PLoS ONE, Volume: 8, Issue: 2

Swansesa University Authors: David, Skibinski, Hugh, Jones, Colin, Restall, Ed, Dudley, Geertje, Van Keulen

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Abstract

Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge in large class-size modules in many life science degrees. MCQ-tests can be used to objectively measure factual knowledge, ability and high-level learning outcomes, but may also introdu...

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Published in: PLoS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: 2013
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa14174
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MCQ-tests can be used to objectively measure factual knowledge, ability and high-level learning outcomes, but may also introduce gender bias in performance dependent on topic, instruction, scoring and difficulty. The &#x2018;Single Answer&#x2019; (SA) test is often used in which students choose one correct answer, in which they are unable to demonstrate partial knowledge. Negatively marking eliminates the chance element of guessing but may be considered unfair. Elimination testing (ET) is an alternative form of MCQ, which discriminates between all levels of knowledge, while rewarding demonstration of partial knowledge. Comparisons of performance and gender bias in negatively marked SA and ET tests have not yet been performed in the life sciences. Our results show that life science students were significantly advantaged by answering the MCQ test in elimination format compared to single answer format under negative marking conditions by rewarding partial knowledge of topics. Importantly, we found no significant difference in performance between genders in either cohort for either MCQ test under negative marking conditions. Surveys showed that students generally preferred ET-style MCQ testing over SA-style testing. Students reported feeling more relaxed taking ET MCQ and more stressed when sitting SA tests, while disagreeing with being distracted by thinking about best tactics for scoring high. Students agreed ET testing improved their critical thinking skills. We conclude that appropriately-designed MCQ tests do not systematically discriminate between genders. We recommend careful consideration in choosing the type of MCQ test, and propose to apply negative scoring conditions to each test type to avoid the introduction of gender bias. The student experience could be improved through the incorporation of the elimination answering methods in MCQ tests via rewarding partial and full knowledge.</abstract><type>Journal Article</type><journal>PLoS ONE</journal><volume>8</volume><journalNumber>2</journalNumber><publisher/><issnPrint>1932-6203</issnPrint><keywords>science education, multiple choice, gender</keywords><publishedDay>20</publishedDay><publishedMonth>2</publishedMonth><publishedYear>2013</publishedYear><publishedDate>2013-02-20</publishedDate><doi>10.1371/journal.pone.0055956</doi><url>http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055956</url><notes></notes><college>COLLEGE NANME</college><department>Medicine</department><CollegeCode>COLLEGE CODE</CollegeCode><DepartmentCode>PMSC</DepartmentCode><institution>Swansea University</institution><lastEdited>2019-10-14T10:16:04.8678779</lastEdited><Created>2013-02-02T11:35:52.2823305</Created><path><level id="1">Swansea University Medical School</level><level id="2">Medicine</level></path><authors><author><firstname>A. Elizabeth</firstname><surname>Bond</surname><order>1</order></author><author><firstname>Owen</firstname><surname>Bodger</surname><order>2</order></author><author><firstname>David</firstname><surname>Skibinski</surname><orcid>0000-0003-4077-6236</orcid><order>3</order></author><author><firstname>D. 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spelling 2019-10-14T10:16:04.8678779 v2 14174 2013-02-02 Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety 328d16903f98c2b03a1cc64a7530322a 0000-0003-4077-6236 David Skibinski David Skibinski true false 8dc36ef652250f108e64d22aa0f3e353 Hugh Jones Hugh Jones true false 5ab1c70f1c6c02bdedbe094af9fba33e Colin Restall Colin Restall true false c7d05f992a817cd3b9a5f946bd909b71 Ed Dudley Ed Dudley true false 6b2c798924ac19de63e2168d50b99425 0000-0002-6044-1575 Geertje Van Keulen Geertje Van Keulen true false 2013-02-02 PMSC Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge in large class-size modules in many life science degrees. MCQ-tests can be used to objectively measure factual knowledge, ability and high-level learning outcomes, but may also introduce gender bias in performance dependent on topic, instruction, scoring and difficulty. The ‘Single Answer’ (SA) test is often used in which students choose one correct answer, in which they are unable to demonstrate partial knowledge. Negatively marking eliminates the chance element of guessing but may be considered unfair. Elimination testing (ET) is an alternative form of MCQ, which discriminates between all levels of knowledge, while rewarding demonstration of partial knowledge. Comparisons of performance and gender bias in negatively marked SA and ET tests have not yet been performed in the life sciences. Our results show that life science students were significantly advantaged by answering the MCQ test in elimination format compared to single answer format under negative marking conditions by rewarding partial knowledge of topics. Importantly, we found no significant difference in performance between genders in either cohort for either MCQ test under negative marking conditions. Surveys showed that students generally preferred ET-style MCQ testing over SA-style testing. Students reported feeling more relaxed taking ET MCQ and more stressed when sitting SA tests, while disagreeing with being distracted by thinking about best tactics for scoring high. Students agreed ET testing improved their critical thinking skills. We conclude that appropriately-designed MCQ tests do not systematically discriminate between genders. We recommend careful consideration in choosing the type of MCQ test, and propose to apply negative scoring conditions to each test type to avoid the introduction of gender bias. The student experience could be improved through the incorporation of the elimination answering methods in MCQ tests via rewarding partial and full knowledge. Journal Article PLoS ONE 8 2 1932-6203 science education, multiple choice, gender 20 2 2013 2013-02-20 10.1371/journal.pone.0055956 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055956 COLLEGE NANME Medicine COLLEGE CODE PMSC Swansea University 2019-10-14T10:16:04.8678779 2013-02-02T11:35:52.2823305 Swansea University Medical School Medicine A. Elizabeth Bond 1 Owen Bodger 2 David Skibinski 0000-0003-4077-6236 3 D. Hugh Jones 4 Colin Restall 5 Ed Dudley 6 Geertje van Keulen 7 Hugh Jones 8 Geertje Van Keulen 0000-0002-6044-1575 9 0014174-14102019101354.PDF 14174.PDF 2019-10-14T10:13:54.3400000 Output 237934 application/pdf Version of Record true 2019-10-14T00:00:00.0000000 Distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY-4.0) true eng
title Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
spellingShingle Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
David, Skibinski
Hugh, Jones
Colin, Restall
Ed, Dudley
Geertje, Van Keulen
title_short Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
title_full Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
title_fullStr Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
title_full_unstemmed Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
title_sort Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety
author_id_str_mv 328d16903f98c2b03a1cc64a7530322a
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author_id_fullname_str_mv 328d16903f98c2b03a1cc64a7530322a_***_David, Skibinski
8dc36ef652250f108e64d22aa0f3e353_***_Hugh, Jones
5ab1c70f1c6c02bdedbe094af9fba33e_***_Colin, Restall
c7d05f992a817cd3b9a5f946bd909b71_***_Ed, Dudley
6b2c798924ac19de63e2168d50b99425_***_Geertje, Van Keulen
author David, Skibinski
Hugh, Jones
Colin, Restall
Ed, Dudley
Geertje, Van Keulen
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description Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge in large class-size modules in many life science degrees. MCQ-tests can be used to objectively measure factual knowledge, ability and high-level learning outcomes, but may also introduce gender bias in performance dependent on topic, instruction, scoring and difficulty. The ‘Single Answer’ (SA) test is often used in which students choose one correct answer, in which they are unable to demonstrate partial knowledge. Negatively marking eliminates the chance element of guessing but may be considered unfair. Elimination testing (ET) is an alternative form of MCQ, which discriminates between all levels of knowledge, while rewarding demonstration of partial knowledge. Comparisons of performance and gender bias in negatively marked SA and ET tests have not yet been performed in the life sciences. Our results show that life science students were significantly advantaged by answering the MCQ test in elimination format compared to single answer format under negative marking conditions by rewarding partial knowledge of topics. Importantly, we found no significant difference in performance between genders in either cohort for either MCQ test under negative marking conditions. Surveys showed that students generally preferred ET-style MCQ testing over SA-style testing. Students reported feeling more relaxed taking ET MCQ and more stressed when sitting SA tests, while disagreeing with being distracted by thinking about best tactics for scoring high. Students agreed ET testing improved their critical thinking skills. We conclude that appropriately-designed MCQ tests do not systematically discriminate between genders. We recommend careful consideration in choosing the type of MCQ test, and propose to apply negative scoring conditions to each test type to avoid the introduction of gender bias. The student experience could be improved through the incorporation of the elimination answering methods in MCQ tests via rewarding partial and full knowledge.
published_date 2013-02-20T20:20:17Z
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