219 paper

Whose assessment in a problem based learning medical program?

Peter Davy
Faculty of Medicine
University of Sydney

This paper describes work in progress of an electronic assessment project at the University of Sydney. The Faculty of Medicine has developed an online format for the Modified Essay Question (MEQ) written assessments used in its problem based learning (PBL) medical program.  The MEQ is used to assess a student's approach to a problem, particularly their reasoning skills and understanding of concepts. The goals of this project include assisting students perform optimally in the MEQ assessment, implementing improvements to the efficiency of written assessment administration and enhancing the quality of feedback to students. Four trials of the online MEQ have now been conducted.  Faculty and student feedback on all four trials have been very positive. Students have reported that they have more time to plan and draft their answers and that the electronic format is more motivating than using the traditional paper assessment format. Faculty staff have reported that the online MEQ reduces the burden of marking student answers, while also improving the provision of student feedback. This project is attempting to meet the assessment challenges faced by a medical school with large student enrolment numbers by efficiently assessing the application of knowledge and clinical reasoning in a PBL context.

Keywords: online, assessment, medical education, problem based learning