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Abstract

EFFECT OF NEGATIVELY FRAMED MCQS IN THE MEDICAL EDUCATION

Mageshwaran Lakshmanan*

ABSTRACT

The current study aimed to investigate the effect of positively and negatively framed MCQs in the medical education by estimating the difficulty index and discrimination index of the MCQ items. A total of 156 students in the second year MBBS of SMMCHRI were included in the study. A total of thirty (three sets of 10 each named as Set A, Set B and Set C) MCQs were framed from the recently covered theory topic in Pharmacology. Set A consisted of 10 positively framed MCQs i.e without any ‘not’, ‘except’ and ‘false’ in the stem while the Set B consists of 10 negatively framed MCQs. Set C was an replica of Set B except capitalization and underlining of the negative words (‘not’, ‘except’) to facilitate the easy noticing in the stem of the MCQ. Difficulty and discrimination index were used. The average score obtained by the students were highest in the positively framed MCQ set (45.5%) while the lowest score was seen in the negatively framed MCQ set i.e Set B (31.9%). The average difficulty level of positively framed MCQ falls under the category ‘ideal’ (Dfi of Set A was 45.1 ± 7.3%) while the negatively framed MCQ falls under the category ‘Difficult’ (Dfi of Set B was 22.2 ± 4.6%). The negatively framed MCQs decrease the students’ performance and lose the discrimination property. It can be minimized by underlining and capitalizing the negative words in the stem of MCQ.

Keywords: Multiple choice question; Medical Education; Negatively framed; difficulty index.


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