MANUSCRIPT: An exploratory study into the effect of time-restricted internet access on face-validity, construct validity and reliability of postgraduate knowledge progress testing.
Yearly formative knowledge testing (also known as progress testing) was shown to have a limited construct-validity and reliability in postgraduate medical education. One way to improve construct-validity and reliability is to improve the authenticity of a test. As easily accessible internet has become inseparably linked to daily clinical practice, we hypothesized that allowing internet access for a limited amount of time during the progress test would improve the perception of authenticity (face-validity) of the test, which would in turn improve the construct-validity and reliability of postgraduate progress testing.
Postgraduate trainees taking the yearly knowledge progress test were asked to participate in a study where they could access the internet for 30 minutes at the end of a traditional pen and paper test. Before and after the test they were asked to complete a short questionnaire regarding the face-validity of the test.
Mean test scores increased significantly for all training years. Trainees indicated that the face-validity of the test improved with internet access and that they would like to continue to have internet access during future testing. Internet access did not improve the construct-validity or reliability of the test.
Improving the face-validity of postgraduate progress testing, by adding the possibility to search the internet for a limited amount of time, positively influences test performance and face-validity. However, it did not change the reliability or the construct-validity of the test.