Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

Font Size: 
Objective versus subjective methods to assess discipline-specific knowledge: a case for Extended Matching Questions (EMQs)
Robyn Maree Slattery

Last modified: 08-06-2017


Background: Extended matching questions (EMQs) were introduced as an objective assessment tool into third year immunology undergraduate units at Monash University, Australia.

Aim: The performance of students examined objectively by multiple choice questions (MCQs) was compared to their performance assessed by EMQs; there was a high correlation coefficient between the two methods. EMQs were then introduced and the correlation of student performance between related units was measured as a function of percentage objective assessment.  The correlation of student performance between units increased proportionally with objective assessment.  Student performance in tasks assessed objectively and subjectively was then compared. The findings indicate marker bias contributes to the poor correlation between marks awarded objectively and subjectively.

Conclusion: EMQs are a valid method to objectively assess students and their increased inclusion in the assessment process increases the consistency of student marks.  The subjective assessment of science communication skills introduces marker bias, indicating a need to identify, validate and implement, more objective methods for their assessment.

Keywords: Extended matching question (EMQ); Objective assessment (OA); SA (SA);  Marker bias; Discipline-specific assessment; Science communication assessment


Full Text: PDF