Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) in exams has come up as a major issue on the King George’s medical University campus.
Vice chancellor Prof Ravi Kant is in favour of adopting MCQs in all the exams, but the faculty members are in opposition. VC gives the plea that MCQs are an effective and efficient way to assess learning outcomes while faculty says such an examination pattern will not be enough to evaluate the aptitude of the candidates.
For the past few weeks, discussions have been going on between the vice chancellor and faculty members at different levels and the recent two developments were a meeting between the VC and HoDs and an open debate among heads of departments and resident doctors with the vice chancellor presiding over it.
An MCQ demands that you select only one answer choice from a list of four or five choices, so there is no scope for the candidate to write the answer and this is what the faculty is opposing.
“Only a written answer and not MCQ can tell the ability of a candidate to explain things which is necessary for a medical student. Thus eliminating the written answer portion can do much harm,” said one of the heads of the department who was present during the open discussion.
The vice chancellor said, “MCQ has multiple benefits. First it allows more questions to be included thus the entire course can be covered in the exam, which is not possible in written pattern. Secondly, it eliminates the level difference between students who know good English and those who don’t.”
He said skill and explanation levels were a definite part of the medical exam but they could be evaluated during the practical exams.
During the open discussion, the vice chancellor’s proposal for MCQ was supported by voice vote by the resident doctors who thought it would get them more marks as they only needed to find a correct answer and explain nothing during theory exams.
Interestingly, one of the faculty members had to pay fine for erroneous checking of the answer-sheet in the written examination.