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Educación Médica Superior

Print version ISSN 0864-2141On-line version ISSN 1561-2902


GOMEZ LOPEZ, Víctor Manuel et al. Difficulty and discrimination index of items for evaluation in basic medical subjects. Educ Med Super [online]. 2020, vol.34, n.1, e1727.  Epub May 11, 2020. ISSN 0864-2141.


Determining the quality of a measuring instrument implies the evaluation of both the accuracy and the stability of such measurement or result.


To evaluate the index of difficulty and discrimination of the items of the measuring instruments of some subjects of the curricular axis of Fundamentals of Medicine of a particular medical school.


By means of an observational, comparative, cross-sectional and prolective study, the items of the ordinary examination of the subjects Morphology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Medical Virology were analyzed, which were answered by 112 students of Morphology, 101 of Biochemistry and Biology Molecular, and 89 of Microbiology and Medical Virology. The number of reagents was 100 for Morphology, 80 for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and 75 for Microbiology and Medical Virology. Descriptive statistics were used, and the difficulty index and the discrimination index of the items and of the entire exam were calculated. In addition, ANOVA was used, considering a statistically significant result equal to or less than 0.05.


The items were more difficult in the Morphology test, since 19% corresponded to the classification of relatively difficulty and 50% corresponded to those of difficulty, with a total of 69% between relative difficulty and difficulty. The discrimination index was higher in the subject of Microbiology and Medical Virology, while in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology there was a good capacity for discrimination.


There was variability in the degree of difficulty and the power of discrimination of the items of the analyzed exams.

Keywords : difficulty index; discrimination power; department tests.

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