AbstractPurpose of the study
There are few studies on the value of authoring questions as a study method, the quality of the questions produced by students and student perceptions of student-authored question banks. Here we evaluate PeerWise, a widely used and free online resource that allows students to author, answer and discuss multiple-choice questions.Study design
We introduced two undergraduate medical student cohorts to PeerWise (n=603). We looked at their patterns of PeerWise usage; identified associations between student engagement and summative exam performance; and used focus groups to assess student perceptions of the value of PeerWise for learning. We undertook item analysis to assess question difficulty and quality.Results
Over two academic years, the two cohorts wrote 4671 questions, answered questions 606 658 times and posted 7735 comments. Question writing frequency correlated most strongly with summative performance (Spearman’s rank: 0.24, p=<0.001). Student focus groups found that: (1) students valued curriculum specificity; and (2) students were concerned about student-authored question quality. Only two questions of the 300 ’most-answered' questions analysed had an unacceptable discriminatory value (point-biserial correlation <0.2).Conclusions
Item analysis suggested acceptable question quality despite student concerns. Quantitative and qualitative methods indicated that PeerWise is a valuable study tool.