Answer changing in multiple choice assessment: change that answer when in doubt - and spread the word!

Bauer, Daniel; Kopp, Veronika; Fischer, Martin R (2007). Answer changing in multiple choice assessment: change that answer when in doubt - and spread the word! BMC medical education, 7(28), p. 28. BioMed Central 10.1186/1472-6920-7-28

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BACKGROUND Several studies during the last decades have shown that answer changing in multiple choice examinations is generally beneficial for examinees. In spite of this the common misbelief still prevails that answer changing in multiple choice examinations results in an increased number of wrong answers rather than an improved score. One suggested consequence of newer studies is that examinees should be informed about this misbelief in the hope that this prejudice might be eradicated. This study aims to confirm data from previous studies about the benefits of answer changing as well as pursue the question of whether students informed about the said advantageous effects of answer changing would indeed follow this advice and change significantly more answers. Furthermore a look is cast on how the overall examination performance and mean point increase of these students is affected. METHODS The answer sheets to the end of term exams of 79 3rd year medical students at the University of Munich were analysed to confirm the benefits of answer changing. Students taking the test were randomized into two groups. Prior to taking the test 41 students were informed about the benefits of changing answers after careful reconsideration while 38 students did not receive such information. Both groups were instructed to mark all answer changes made during the test. RESULTS Answer changes were predominantly from wrong to right in full accordance with existing literature resources. It was shown that students who had been informed about the benefits of answer changing when in doubt changed answers significantly more often than students who had not been informed. Though students instructed on the benefits of changing answers scored higher in their exams than those not instructed, the difference in point increase was not significant. CONCLUSION Students should be informed about the benefits of changing initial answers to multiple choice questions once when in reasonable doubt about these answers. Furthermore, reconsidering answers should be encouraged as students will heed the advice and change more answers than students not so instructed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education > Education and Media Unit (AUM)

UniBE Contributor:

Bauer, Daniel

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1472-6920

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Language:

English

Submitter:

Daniel Bauer

Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2016 16:06

Last Modified:

28 Aug 2016 02:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/1472-6920-7-28

PubMed ID:

17718902

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.86177

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/86177

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