Gender difference in performance of undergraduate medical students for subjective and objective evaluation in physiology
Keywords:Gender difference, Undergraduate assessment, MCQ, Long/short answer question, High achiever, Low achiever
Background: Several studies have indicated gender differences in performance of undergraduate students in medical curriculum mainly in the clinical specialties which requires different set of skills as compared to pre and paraclinical subjects. Therefore, the study aim to investigate gender difference if any, on overall performance as well as on different modalities of assessment like multiple choice questions (MCQ) and structured long & short answer questions (LSQ) of medical students in physiology.
Methods: Performance of 238 first year MBBS students in overall theory (MCQ+LSQ) and separately in MCQ and LSQ were compared between male (n=139) & female (n=99). Further, they were sub-grouped on the basis of total marks in theory as low (<50%), medium (50-65%) and high achievers (>65%).
Results: Female students scored significantly more compared to male students in total (60.8±7.42% vs 56.81±8.78%) as well as individually in MCQ & LSQ. Also, overall failure rate was more for male (19%) as compared to female (7%). However, comparison of high achiever group revealed no significant difference in performance of both genders in all modalities of assessments. Whereas, female students of both medium and low achiever groups had significantly high scores in LSQ as compared to male, but no such difference was observed for MCQ.
Conclusions: Average and below average female students performed better relative to their male counterparts in subjective assessment (LSQ) as compared to assessment demanding more analytical/critical thinking (MCQ). However, performance of high achievers did not show any such gender difference. Therefore, different types of assessments bring out different abilities of students across genders depending on their grade of performance in a medical curriculum.
Walubo A, Burch V, Parmar P, Raidoo D, Cassimjee M, Onia R, Ofei F. A model for selecting assessment methods for evaluating medical students in African medical schools. Acad Med. 2003;78:899–906.
Sharma HS, Mutalik MM. Questions and Structured essay questions at III MBBS examination in Otorhinolaryngology in a Medical college in Mauritius. Int J Pharm Bio Sci. 2014;5(4):1195-202.
Reiner MC, Bothell TW, Sudweeks RR, Wood B. Preparing effective essay questions. A self directed workbook for educators. New Forum Press; 2002.
Ghate J, Sinha M, Sinha R. Correlation of MCQ subtypes with grading of performance among undergraduate students in a preclinical discipline. Int J Res Med Sc. 2017;5(2):1-6.
Khan MZ, Aljarallah BM. MEQs and MCQ as a tool for assessing the cognitive skills of undergraduate medical students. Int J Heal Sci. 2011;5(1):45–50.
Beirer SB, Dannefer EF, Taylor C, Hall P, Hull A. Methods to assess students’ acquisition, application and integration of basic science knowledge in an innovative competency-based curriculum. Med Teach. 2008;30:171–7.
Sheader E, Gouldsborough I, Grady R. Staff and student perceptions of computer-assisted assessment for physiology practical classes. Adv Physiol Educ. 2006;30:174–80.
Moqattash S, Harris PF, Gumaa KA, Abu-Hijleh MF. Assessment of basic medical sciences in an integrated systems-based curriculum. Clin Anat. 1995;8:139–47.
Pepple DJ, Young LE, Carroll RG. A comparison of student performance in multiple-choice and long essay questions in the MBBS stage I physiology examination at the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus).Adv Physiol Educ. 2010;34:86–9.
Shittu LA, Zachariah MP, Adesanya OA, Izegbu MC, Ashiru OA. The differential impact of various assessment parameters on the medical students’ performance in the professional anatomy examination. Sci Res Essay. 2006;1(1):14-9.
Pai MRSM, Sanji N, Pai PG, Kotian S. Comparative assessment in pharmacology multiple choice questions versus essay with focus on gender differences. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2010;(4):2515-20.
Tyrer SP, Leung WC, Smalls J, Katona C. The relationship between medical school of training, age, gender and success in the MRCPsych examinations. Psych Bull. 2002;26:257263.
Krueger PM. Do women medical students outperform men in obstetrics and gynecology? Acad Med. 1998;73(1):101-2.
Deepak KK, Al-Umran KU, Al-Sheikh MH, Al-Rubaish A. The influence of gender on undergraduate performance in multiple choice testing in clinical disciplines at University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Al Ameen J Med Sci. 2011;4(2):123-30.
Kumar P, Ghildiya JP, Rajpoot RS, Kumar S. Comparison of performance in physiology subject assessed by short essay type questions and multiple choice questions of first year medical students. Asian J Med Sc. 2017;8(1):82-4.
Agu AU, Esom EA, Nto JN, Anyanwu GE, Ezugworie JO, Adiri CO, et al. Students preference for various types of assessments in anatomy examination. Intl J Develop Res. 2014;4(7):1377-9.
Palmer EJ, Devitt PG. Assessment of higher order cognitive skills in undergraduate education: modified essay or multiple choice questions? Research paper. BMC Med Edu. 2007;7:49.
Vyas R, Supe A. Multiple choice questions: A literature review on the optimal number of options. Natl Med J India. 2008;21(3):130-3.
Bandaranayake RC. Setting and maintaining standards in multiple choice examinations: AMEE Guide no. 37. Med Teach. 2008;30:836–45.
El-Hazmi MAF, Tekian As, El-Mahdy S, Lambourne A. Performance of men and women medical students at King Saud University, Riyadh: a IO-year retrospective study. Med Edu. 1987;21(4):358-61.
Omigbodun OO, Omigbodun AO. Influence of gender on undergraduate performance in psychiatry at Ibadan, Nigeria. Med Edu. 2003;37(12):1091–3.
Haist SA, Witzke DB, Quinlivan S, Murphy-Spencer A, Wilson JF. Clinical skills as demonstrated by a comprehensive clinical performance examination: who performs better – men or women? Adv Health Sc Edu. 2003;8:189-99.
McDonough CM, Horgan A, Codd MB, Casey PR. Gender differences in the results of the final medical examination at University College Dublin. Med Educ. 2000;34:30-4.
Castagnetti C, Rosti L. Effort allocation in tournaments: The effect of gender on academic performance in Italian universities. Eco Edu Rev. 2008;28:357-79.
Anbar M. Comparing assessments of students’ knowledge by computerized open-ended and multiple choice tests. Acad Med. 1991;66:420–2.