Will a Short Training Session Improve Multiple-Choice Item-Writing



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Research Article Faculty Development

Will a Short Training Session Improve Multiple-Choice Item-Writing Quality by Dental School Faculty? A Pilot Study Mark A. Dellinges and Donald A. Curtis Journal of Dental Education August 2017, 81 (8) 948-955; DOI: http://doi.org/10.21815/JDE.017.047 Add to Cart ($15)


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In this issue Journal of Dental Education


Vol. 81, Issue 8 1 Aug 2017

Faculty members are expected to write high-quality multiple-choice

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questions (MCQs) in order to accurately assess dental students’

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achievement. However, most dental school faculty members are not trained to write MCQs. Extensive faculty development programs have been used to help educators write better test items. The aim of this pilot study was to determine if a short workshop would result in improved MCQ item-writing by dental school faculty at one U.S. dental school. A total of 24 dental school


faculty members who had previously written MCQs were randomized into a

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no-intervention group and an intervention group in 2015. Six previously written MCQs were randomly selected from each of the faculty members



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training session of one-hour duration that focused on reviewing standard

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item-writing guidelines to improve in-house MCQs. The no-intervention

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group did not receive any training but did receive encouragement and an

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and given an item quality score. The intervention group participated in a

explanation of why good MCQ writing was important. The faculty members


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were then asked to revise their previously written questions, and these were given an item quality score. The item quality scores for each faculty member were averaged, and the difference from pre-training to post-training scores


was evaluated. The results showed a significant difference between pretraining and post-training MCQ difference scores for the intervention group (p=0.04). This pilot study provides evidence that the training session of short duration was effective in improving the quality of in-house MCQs.

dental education

dental faculty


multiple-choice questions

faculty development

item-writing flaws

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