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Relationship of text length of multiple-choice questions on item psychometric properties – A retrospective study

1 Department of Orthodontics, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Community Dentistry and Research, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Medical Education, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
4 Operative Dentistry and Head of the Program, Dentistry Program, Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Fawaz Pullishery,
Department of Community Dentistry and Research, Batterjee Medical College, P. O. Box 6231, Jeddah 21442
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_76_20

Background: Item writing flaws while constructing multiple-choice questions (MCQs) have serious impact on different psychometric properties of questionnaire. The study aimed to evaluate the relationship of length of questions of (MCQs) items on difficulty factor (DF), discrimination index (DI), and Point Bi-serial (rBP) of a dental program assessment. Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional study included 627 MCQs. The data were analyzed from the report achieved through ExamSoft software. The questions were divided into long (words >100); medium (words of 70–100); and short (words <70). We divided the DF into hard (DF <0.3), average (DF = 0.3–0.8) easy (DF >0.8); DI into negative (DI <0), DI = 0–0.2 and DI >0.2; Point Bi-serial into “Negative” (rBP <0), rBP = 0–0.2 and rBP >0.2; Pearson's Chi-square test was used to find a relationship between length of question with other variables. Results: Thirty-one long MCQs, 56 medium, and 540 short MCQs were achieved based on the analysis. There was a statistically significant association found between DF and length of the questions (P < 0.05). No significant relationship between the length of the questions with DI and Point Bi-Serial factors. The median of DF was 0.6300 (interquartile range [IQR] 0.41). The median length of the MCQs was found to be 35.0 (IQR 25.0). Conclusion: The study proved that the length of the question has an impact on the DF but not always with the DI or Point Bi-serial.

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    -  Aljehani DK
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