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MANUSCRIPT: An exploratory study into the effect of time-restricted internet access on face-validity, construct validity and reliability of postgraduate knowledge progress testing.

BACKGROUND:
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.
METHODS:
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.
RESULTS:
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.
CONCLUSION:
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.

via An exploratory study into the effect of time-re… [BMC Med Educ. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI.

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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