Background: Written examinations are the most commonly employed methods for assessing the knowledge and clinical competence of undergraduate medical students. The assessment tools commonly employed in the theory paper are reasoning and short note type of questions. However, a few disadvantages such as less number of questions, unfair representation or distribution of topics, different difficulty level of questions, vague questions are often encountered in question papers of written examinations.
Aims and Objectives: To evaluate the content validity/adequate coverage of different subdivisions of pharmacology in undergraduate written examination.
Materials and Methods: For the analysis of written examination, all question papers of pharmacology second professional MBBS examination of Pt. B. D. Sharma University of Health Sciences from 2006 to 2015 were examined. In this retrospective study, we evaluated the pharmacology annual university theory examination question papers of II nd MBBS students. The students have to answer two question papers: Papers I and II, each being of 40 marks.
Results: It was observed from the question papers that major systems such as autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular systems, central nervous system, and antimicrobials had almost equal weightage throughout the 10 years. However, some important topics such as anticancer drugs, analgesics (autacoids), immunosuppressants (miscellaneous) were not at all covered in many consecutive years (2011-2015).
Conclusion: Assessment should become an instrument for promoting growth rather than simply measuring it. It should not be used for merely classification, grading, and certification. Therefore, methods like test blueprinting and table of specifications should be used during test construction process to improve the assessment system.
Key words: Pharmacology; Undergraduate; Written Examination