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Development of an instrument to measure medical students' perceptions of the assessment environment: initial validation



Development of an instrument to measure medical students' perceptions of the assessment environment: initial validation



Medical Education Online 20: 28612



Assessment environment, synonymous with climate or atmosphere, is multifaceted. Although there are valid and reliable instruments for measuring the educational environment, there is no validated instrument for measuring the assessment environment in medical programs. This study aimed to develop an instrument for measuring students' perceptions of the assessment environment in an undergraduate medical program and to examine the psychometric properties of the new instrument. The Assessment Environment Questionnaire (AEQ), a 40-item, four-point (1=Strongly Disagree to 4=Strongly Agree) Likert scale instrument designed by the authors, was administered to medical undergraduates from the authors' institution. The response rate was 626/794 (78.84%). To establish construct validity, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with principal component analysis and varimax rotation was conducted. To examine the internal consistency reliability of the instrument, Cronbach's α was computed. Mean scores for the entire AEQ and for each factor/subscale were calculated. Mean AEQ scores of students from different academic years and sex were examined. Six hundred and eleven completed questionnaires were analysed. EFA extracted four factors: feedback mechanism (seven items), learning and performance (five items), information on assessment (five items), and assessment system/procedure (three items), which together explained 56.72% of the variance. Based on the four extracted factors/subscales, the AEQ was reduced to 20 items. Cronbach's α for the 20-item AEQ was 0.89, whereas Cronbach's α for the four factors/subscales ranged from 0.71 to 0.87. Mean score for the AEQ was 2.68/4.00. The factor/subscale of 'feedback mechanism' recorded the lowest mean (2.39/4.00), whereas the factor/subscale of 'assessment system/procedure' scored the highest mean (2.92/4.00). Significant differences were found among the AEQ scores of students from different academic years. The AEQ is a valid and reliable instrument. Initial validation supports its use to measure students' perceptions of the assessment environment in an undergraduate medical program.

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Accession: 057602860

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PMID: 26511792


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