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Anat Sci Educ. 2017 Apr 17. doi: 10.1002/ase.1693. [Epub ahead of print]

A psychometric evaluation of the anatomy learning experiences questionnaire and correlations with learning outcomes.

Author information

1
Division of Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
2
Division of Paramedicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
3
Course Quality, Curtin Learning and Teaching, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Abstract

The Anatomy Learning Experiences Questionnaire (ALEQ) was designed by Smith and Mathias to explore students' perceptions and experiences of learning anatomy. In this study, the psychometric properties of a slightly altered 34-item ALEQ (ALEQ-34) were evaluated, and correlations with learning outcomes investigated, by surveying first- and second-year undergraduate medical students; 181 usable responses were obtained (75% response rate). Psychometric analysis demonstrated overall good reliability (Cronbach's alpha of 0.85). Exploratory factor analysis yielded a 27-item, three-factor solution (ALEQ-27, Cronbach's alpha of 0.86), described as: (Factor 1) (Reversed) challenges in learning anatomy, (Factor 2) Applications and importance of anatomy, and (Factor 3) Learning in the dissection laboratory. Second-year students had somewhat greater challenges and less positive attitudes in learning anatomy than first-year students. Females reported slightly greater challenges and less confidence in learning anatomy than males. Total scores on summative gross anatomy examination questions correlated with ALEQ-27, Pearson's r = 0.222 and 0.271, in years 1 and 2, respectively, and with Factor 1, r = 0.479 and 0.317 (all statistically significant). Factor 1 also had similar correlations across different question types (multiple choice; short answer or essay; cadaveric; and anatomical models, bones, or radiological images). In a retrospective analysis, Factor 1 predicted poor end-of-semester anatomy examination results in year 1 with a sensitivity of 88% and positive predictive value of 33%. Further development of ALEQ-27 may enable deeper understanding of students' learning of anatomy, and its ten-item Factor 1 may be a useful screening tool to identify at-risk students. Anat Sci Educ. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.

KEYWORDS:

anatomical sciences; assessment; dissection anatomy; gross anatomy education; learning; medical education; medical students; student perceptions; undergraduate education

PMID:
28423232
DOI:
10.1002/ase.1693
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