Hannah Bartlett, BSc (Hons), PhD, MCOptom, PGCertEd FAAO
Mark Dunne, BSc, PhD, MCOptom
David N Anderson, BA(Hons), PgD, MSc, FHEA
Frank Eperjesi, BSc, PhD, MCOptom, Dip Orth, FAAO, MHEA, PGCertHE
This retrospective study was designed to investigate the factors that influence performance in examinations comprised of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), short-answer questions (SAQs), and essay questions in an undergraduate population. Final year optometry degree examination marks were analyzed for two separate cohorts. Direct comparison found that students performed better in MCQs than essays. However, forward stepwise regression analysis of module marks compared with the overall score showed that MCQs were the least influential, and the essay or SAQ mark was a more reliable predictor of overall grade. This has implications for examination design.
Key Words: Assessment, essay questions, higher education, multiple choice questions, written examination.