Background: The type of student admission may affect their educational performance. The purpose of this pilot was to compare the multiple-choice test statistics of medical and dental students' tests between free admission and tuition-paying admission under maximum matched conditions.
Methods: This descriptive-analytical study was conducted at Golestan University of Medical Sciences in Iran in 2020. The study population included students of medicine and dentistry. A total of 56 tests were selected in two student groups of free admission and tuition-paying admission in basic sciences stages in the physiology course. The matched factors included test features consist of the number of questions, date of the test, test time, the volume of content, topics, and resources, and the instructors. The results of quantitative evaluation of tests were used as the data of this study. There were 21 items for each test including difficulty index, discrimination index, the degree of difficulty, score variance, and Kuder-Richardson correlation coefficient.
Results: There were 16 medical and 14 dentistry tests with 437 and 330 questions respectively. The number of medical students participating in the free-tuition and paying-tuition admissions was 1336 and 1076, and for dental students, these numbers were 395 and 235 respectively. There were no significant differences in normalized adjusted test scores between two admission groups in both medical and dentistry tests. The discrimination index of tests was fair or good, and there were no cases of the negative or poor index. The mean of discrimination index in the free-tuition group was higher than in the paying-tuition group (p = 0.048). The interaction between the type of admission and the field was significant for the discrimination index (p = 0.0001). This difference was more in tuition-free dental students than tuition-free medical students and tuition-paying dental students. The mean difficulty index and the Kuder-Richardson correlation coefficient had no differences in the two groups.
Conclusions: The type of student admission has no significant effect on students’ assessments in multiple choice tests in matched educational conditions.