Effect of training on formulation of multiple choice questions: a cross-sectional study amongst faculty in the department of biochemistry of a Medical Institution in India

Patke Vinay, Kuyare Sunil, Iyer Praveen, Bhosale Yuvaraj


Background: Multiple choice questions (MCQs) are an important tool for assessing whether learning objectives are being achieved. A formal training is necessary to have high standards in preparing MCQs. the effect of a training program on the quality of MCQs, amongst the faculty of Department of Biochemistry was assessed.

Methods: A training program was designed with the main focus on how to construct appropriate MCQs’ by participants based on sound scientific standards and guidelines. Topics from biochemistry syllabus for first year MBBS course were selected for the study. All the study participants were newly appointed lecturers and had not undergone any formal training program in medical education technology. Training was carried out by three experts who were formally trained in medical education and were fellows of foundation for advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Knowledge gained by the study participants was tested by pre-test post-test comprising objective questions. The quality of MCQs before and after intervention was assessed with a validated (checklist) containing 60 items.

Results: Eight faculty members participated in the study. A statistically significant improvement was observed in the knowledge of appropriate formulation of MCQs (P<0.05) and the overall quality of MCQs (P=0.004), following training of the study participants. Especially, marked improvements were observed in providing directions for MCQs, highlighting of negative stems in the MCQs and providing keys to MCQs after the training. No significant changes were observed either in the quality of subject content or in the types of formulation of MCQs.

Conclusions: A significant improvement in knowledge of how to construct appropriate MCQ items and the quality of MCQs following training program was noted. Such training program to be administered to the teaching staff early in their career was recommended.


MCQ, Assessment tool, Medical education

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