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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 / A. Elizabeth Bond; Owen Bodger; David O. F. Skibinski; D. Hugh Jones; Colin J. Restall; Edward Dudley; Geertje van Keulen

PLoS ONE, Volume: 8, Issue: 2

Swansea University Author: Jones, Hugh

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Abstract

Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge inlarge 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...

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Published in: PLoS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: 2013
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa14425
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last_indexed 2019-10-14T13:15:20Z
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spelling 2019-10-14T10:17:41Z v2 14425 2013-03-14 Negatively-Marked MCQ Assessments That Reward Partial Knowledge Do Not Introduce Gender Bias Yet Increase Student Performance and Satisfaction and Reduce Anxiety Hugh Jones Hugh Jones true false 8dc36ef652250f108e64d22aa0f3e353 54bc172bf8cda1c23af0a874269997c9 S0wchCR+mNRgxSxD79XUawgr5y2nBRz3haj4DmVVDsQ= 2013-03-14 BMS Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge inlarge 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, inwhich they are unable to demonstrate partial knowledge. Negatively marking eliminates the chance element of guessingbut may be considered unfair. Elimination testing (ET) is an alternative form of MCQ, which discriminates between all levelsof knowledge, while rewarding demonstration of partial knowledge. Comparisons of performance and gender bias innegatively marked SA and ET tests have not yet been performed in the life sciences. Our results show that life sciencestudents were significantly advantaged by answering the MCQ test in elimination format compared to single answer formatunder negative marking conditions by rewarding partial knowledge of topics. Importantly, we found no significantdifference in performance between genders in either cohort for either MCQ test under negative marking conditions. Surveysshowed that students generally preferred ET-style MCQ testing over SA-style testing. Students reported feeling morerelaxed taking ET MCQ and more stressed when sitting SA tests, while disagreeing with being distracted by thinking aboutbest tactics for scoring high. Students agreed ET testing improved their critical thinking skills. We conclude thatappropriately-designed MCQ tests do not systematically discriminate between genders. We recommend carefulconsideration in choosing the type of MCQ test, and propose to apply negative scoring conditions to each test type toavoid the introduction of gender bias. The student experience could be improved through the incorporation of theelimination answering methods in MCQ tests via rewarding partial and full knowledge. Journal article PLoS ONE 8 2 1932-6203 20 2 2013 2013-02-20 10.1371/journal.pone.0055956 Swansea University Medical School CMED BMS None None 2019-10-14T10:17:41Z 2013-03-14T11:59:26Z Swansea University Medical School Medicine A. Elizabeth Bond 1 Owen Bodger 2 David O. F. Skibinski 3 D. Hugh Jones 4 Colin J. Restall 5 Edward Dudley 6 Geertje van Keulen 7
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
Jones, Hugh
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 8dc36ef652250f108e64d22aa0f3e353
author_id_fullname_str_mv 8dc36ef652250f108e64d22aa0f3e353_***_Jones, Hugh
author Jones, Hugh
author2 A. Elizabeth Bond
Owen Bodger
David O. F. Skibinski
D. Hugh Jones
Colin J. Restall
Edward Dudley
Geertje van Keulen
format Journal article
container_title PLoS ONE
container_volume 8
container_issue 2
publishDate 2013
institution Swansea University
issn 1932-6203
doi_str_mv 10.1371/journal.pone.0055956
college_str Swansea University Medical School
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hierarchy_top_id swanseauniversitymedicalschool
hierarchy_top_title Swansea University Medical School
hierarchy_parent_id swanseauniversitymedicalschool
hierarchy_parent_title Swansea University Medical School
department_str Medicine{{{_:::_}}}Swansea University Medical School{{{_:::_}}}Medicine
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description Multiple-choice question (MCQ) examinations are increasingly used as the assessment method of theoretical knowledge inlarge 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, inwhich they are unable to demonstrate partial knowledge. Negatively marking eliminates the chance element of guessingbut may be considered unfair. Elimination testing (ET) is an alternative form of MCQ, which discriminates between all levelsof knowledge, while rewarding demonstration of partial knowledge. Comparisons of performance and gender bias innegatively marked SA and ET tests have not yet been performed in the life sciences. Our results show that life sciencestudents were significantly advantaged by answering the MCQ test in elimination format compared to single answer formatunder negative marking conditions by rewarding partial knowledge of topics. Importantly, we found no significantdifference in performance between genders in either cohort for either MCQ test under negative marking conditions. Surveysshowed that students generally preferred ET-style MCQ testing over SA-style testing. Students reported feeling morerelaxed taking ET MCQ and more stressed when sitting SA tests, while disagreeing with being distracted by thinking aboutbest tactics for scoring high. Students agreed ET testing improved their critical thinking skills. We conclude thatappropriately-designed MCQ tests do not systematically discriminate between genders. We recommend carefulconsideration in choosing the type of MCQ test, and propose to apply negative scoring conditions to each test type toavoid the introduction of gender bias. The student experience could be improved through the incorporation of theelimination answering methods in MCQ tests via rewarding partial and full knowledge.
published_date 2013-02-20T04:14:39Z
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score 10.885145