Legal challenge to MCQs

A report this morning discusses a dyslexic medical student’s proposed legal action against the use of multiple choice tests on the grounds of discrimination. 

Naomi Gadian, a student at the Peninsula Medical School in Devon, is taking action against the General Medical Council in a move which her solicitor suggests could force all providers and monitors of professional qualifications to adapt their examinations to remove MCQs.  Although dyslexic candidates face challenges with most examination formats, the report cites John Stein as stating that MCQs are problematic for dyslexic candidates because of specific difficulties caused by confusing letter order.

The outcome of this case will be very interesting, though it seems likely that MCQs won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

Update: The BBC has posted a useful exploration of some of the issues around dyslexia and MCQs – well worth a look.

2 thoughts on “Legal challenge to MCQs

  1. Catherine Bennett of the Observer presents an interesting commentary on the topic – see link below.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/03/equality.highereducation?gusrc=rss&feed=education

    I have yet to see any information on how Ms Gadian is fairing in the assessments she has taken at Peninsula Medical School. Either in relation to other students on the course or other dyslexic students, if such a comparison were available. I also assume that an MCQ test is not the only criterion used by the Medical School to assess the merits of their students but one of a number.

  2. Thank you for the link, Patrick, it’s a very interesting article – as are the comments! The case does raise an awful lot of issues – it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

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