Methods: A short questionnaire was designed containing 3 items, and administered as part of the final examination for first and second year students. The questions address the frequency of completion and perceived usefulness of the self-assessments, as well as the ranking of usefulness of 5 different study tools/aids for radiology. The mean scores and standard deviations were calculated for all components of the three questions for first and second year students separately. The rankings of usefulness of the various study aids/methods for radiology were evaluated by comparing the mean score for each of the 5 items separately for the first and second year students. These scores were then compared for differences between the two student cohorts using the Mann-Whitney U test (non-parametric t-test). Spearman’s correlation coefficient was calculated to compare frequency of using the self-assessments, rated usefulness of self-assessments, and use of the other study aids/methods with the final course grades.
Results: One hundred percent of the second year students and 97% of the first year students completed the questionnaire. The mean final grade for second year students was 79% and the mean final grade for first year students was 77%. Both student cohorts rated the frequency of completing the self-assessments as well as the usefulness of the self-assessments very high. On the 5-point Likert scale, with a score of 5 indicating completion between 81 – 100% of the time and a score of 4 meaning completion between 61 – 80% of the time, the first year students scored 4.27 and the second year students scored 4.21. The two cohorts obtained identical scores of 4.28 for the usefulness of the self assessments (5 = extremely useful). Statistically significant differences were noted between the first and second year students in 4 of the 5 study aids. Significant differences were noted for rating the usefulness of the textbooks, note Service, radiology teaching files, and self-assessment exercises. The only area of agreement between the two groups was for use of Internet sites. There were no statistically significant correlations between final course grade and the rating of any component on the second year questionnaires. However, Spearman’s correlation coefficient found a weak, but statistically significant correlation comparing the frequency of completing the self assessments with the final grade for the first year cohort.
Discussion: Although both first and second year students rated the frequency of completion and usefulness of the self-assessment exercises as very high, there were significant differences in the ways that the two cohorts approached their radiology studies, with the second year students using the more appropriate learning methods.
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