Preliminary report of a Web-based instrument to assess and teach knowledge and clinical thinking to medical student

Gerald H. Stein1, Hironobu Tokunaga2, Hirotaka Ando2, Mikako Obika3 and Tomoko Miyoshi4

1Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Fukui, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Fukui, Japan

3Centers for Graduate Medical Education, Okayama, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Okayama, Japan

4Department of Medical Education and Primary Care, Okayama University School of Medicine, Okayama, Japan

Submitted: 26/03/2013; Accepted: 10/12/2013; Published: 04/01/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:1-6; doi: 10.5116/ijme.52a7.7280

© 2014 Gerald H. Stein et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: We report the preliminary development of a unique Web-based instrument for assessing and teaching knowledge and developing clinical thinking called the "Sequential Questions and Answers" (SQA) test. Included in this feasibility report are physicians' answers to the Sequential Questions and Answers pre- and posttests and their brief questionnaire replies.

Methods: The authors refined the SQA test case scenario for content, ease of modifications of case scenarios, test uploading and answer retrieval. Eleven geographically distant physicians evaluated the SQA test, taking the pretest and posttest within two weeks. These physicians completed a brief questionnaire about the SQA test.

Results: Eleven physicians completed the SQA pre- and posttest; all answers were downloaded for analysis. They reported the ease of website login and navigating within the test module together with many helpful suggestions. Their average posttest score gain was 53% (p=0.012).

Conclusions: We report the successful launch of a unique Web-based instrument referred to as the Sequential Questions and Answers test. This distinctive test combines teaching organization of the clinical narrative into an assessment tool that promotes acquiring medical knowledge and clinical thinking. We successfully demonstrated the feasibility of geographically distant physicians to access the SQA instrument. The physicians' helpful suggestions will be added to future SQA test versions. Medical schools might explore the integration of this multi-language-capable SQA assessment and teaching instrument into their undergraduate medical curriculum.