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Original Research Paper

Correlation between difficulty & discrimination indices of MCQs in formative exam in Physiology

Authors:

Sushma S. Pande ,

Dr. Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical College, Amravati, (MS), IN
About Sushma S.
Professor & Head Department of Physiology
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Santosh R. Pande,

Dr. Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical College, Amravati, (MS), IN
About Santosh R.
Associate Professor, Department of Anaesthesia
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Vrushali R. Parate,

Dr. Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical College, Amravati, (MS), IN
About Vrushali R.
Assitant Professor, Department.of Physiology
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Archana P. Nikam,

Dr. Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical College, Amravati, (MS), IN
About Archana P.
Demonstrator, Department of Physiology
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Sushil H. Agrekar

Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Sawangi, Wardha, (MS), IN
About Sushil H.
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Difficulty index (P) and discrimination index (D) are the parameters used to evaluate the standard of multiple choice questions (MCQs) in examination. Accordingly the standard of MCQs can be interpreted as excellent, acceptable or poor. This study was intended to find out the standard of MCQs in formative examination in Physiology. The study also intended to find out correlation between P and D.

 

Materials and Methods: There were 240 MCQ items, taken from the past 4 year batches of 100 students and were analyzed for level of difficulty and discrimination index. The relationship between them for each test item was determined by Pearson correlation analysis using SPSS 11.5.

 

Results: There was a wide distribution of item difficulty indices (8.57 to 95.71) and discrimination indices (-0.54 to 0.8).The mean difficulty index (P) was 52.53 + 20.59 and mean discrimination index was 0.30+ 0.18. On average, about 23% of the MCQ items were easy (P >70%), while about 15% were difficult (P <30%). The remaining 62% items were within acceptable range (30 to 70%). In all 4% of the items showed negative discrimination and 21% of the items exhibited poor discrimination. The remaining 75% of the items were in the range of acceptable to excellent discrimination. The discrimination index exhibited slight positive correlation with difficulty index (r = 0.191, P=0.003<0.01). The maximal discrimination (D=0.6-0.8) was observed with moderately easy/difficult items (P = 40% - 60%).

 

Conclusion: The majority (75%) of the items was acceptable as far as difficulty and discriminative indices were concerned. Moderately easy/difficult items had maximal discriminative ability. Too easy and too difficult items gave poor discrimination index. Negative discrimination was observed in only 4% of the items indicating faulty items or incorrect keys.

How to Cite: Pande, S.S., Pande, S.R., Parate, V.R., Nikam, A.P. and Agrekar, S.H., 2013. Correlation between difficulty & discrimination indices of MCQs in formative exam in Physiology. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 7(1), pp.45–50. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/seajme.v7i1.149
Published on 30 Jun 2013.
Peer Reviewed

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