An Item Analysis of Written Multiple-Choice Questions: Kashan University of Medical Sciences


1 1Education Developing Center, Kashan University of Medical Science, Kashan, IR Iran

2 2Truma Nursing Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kashan University of Medical Science, Kashan, IR Iran

3 3Department of Computer Engineering, Azad University of Kashan, Kashan, IR Iran

4 4Department of Social Medicine, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, IR Iran



Background Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are one of the most common types of exams used in evaluation of students in any educational setting. The question items making up these exams need to be examined if they are to meaningfully contribute to the student scores. Such characteristics are amenable to examination by item analysis. Objectives The purpose of this research was to examine the quality of MCQs used in Nursing and Midwifery Faculty and to compare the results with the other faculties in Kashan University of Medical Science in the academic year 2008-2009. Materials and Methods In this cross-sectional study, 101 multiple-choice exams were randomly chosen for the study, and 37 exams were selected from the faculty of nursing and midwifery. The difficulty, discrimination indices and Cronbach’s Alpha were calculated for every exam and then mean values for each index were calculated by LERTAL 5.0 software purchased from Assessment Systems Corporation of the United States. Results A total of 7062 MCQs in the university and 1793 items in the faculty of nursing and midwifery presented to the students by different instructors were analyzed. The average of difficulty index of the faculty of nursing was 0.5. The discrimination index was 0.36, and the average of Alpha-Cronbach was 0.82 in the faculty of nursing. All the values were significantly better in the faculty of nursing and midwifery compared to the rest of the university. Conclusions The difficulty index, the discrimination index and the Alpha-Cronbach values in the faculty of nursing were within the acceptable range recommended by experts in the field of educational measurement. However, some of the tests had values less than the recommended.