An Evaluation of Local Item Dependencies in the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I

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Abstract

Purpose.

This study investigates (a) whether items within the Multiple-Choice Questions component of the Medical Council of Canada's Qualifying Examination Part I exhibit local dependencies and (b) potential sources of such dependencies.

Method.

The dimensionality of each of six discipline-based subtests was assessed based on exploratory nonlinear factor analyses. A standardized Fisher's z statistic was used to test residual item correlations for local item dependencies. The characteristics of pairs of items flagged as possibly locally dependent were reviewed.

Results.

Some items in the Pediatrics and Public Medicine/Community Health subtests are locally dependent; these tend to be the more difficult items on the subtests.

Discussion.

While these results are encouraging, the possible causes and potential impacts of any local dependencies should be investigated further.

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