Assessment of scientific thinking in basic science in the Iranian second national Olympiad
1 Transplant Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
2 Education Development and Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
3 Department of Biochemistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4 Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Regenerative medicine, Royan Institute for stem cell biology and technology, ACER, Tehran, Iran
6 Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
7 Department of Immunology, Uramieh University of Medical Sciences, Uramieh, Iran
8 Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
9 Vice Chancellor for Educational Affairs, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran
10 Integrative Gastroenterology Research Center, Department of internal medicine, Isfahan University of medical sciences, Isfahan ,Iran
11 Health Policy Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:61 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-61Published: 23 January 2012
To evaluate the scientific reasoning in basic science among undergraduate medical students, we established the National Medical Science Olympiad in Iran. In this Olympiad, the drawing of a concept map was used to evaluate a student's knowledge framework; students' ability in hypothesis generation and testing were also evaluated in four different steps. All medical students were invited to participate in this program. Finally, 133 undergraduate medical students with average grades ≥ 16/20 from 45 different medical schools in Iran were selected. The program took the form of four exams: drawing a concept map (Exam I), hypothesis generation (Exam II), choosing variables based on the hypothesis (Exam III), measuring scientific thought (Exam IV). The examinees were asked to complete all examination items in their own time without using textbooks, websites, or personal consultations. Data were presented as mean ± SE of each parameter. The correlation coefficient between students' scores in each exam with the total final score and average grade was calculated using the Spearman test.
Out of a possible score of 200, the mean ± SE of each exam were as follows: 183.88 ± 5.590 for Exam I; 78.68 ± 9.168 for Exam II; 92.04 ± 2.503 for exam III; 106.13 ± 2.345 for Exam IV. The correlation of each exam score with the total final score was calculated, and there was a significant correlation between them (p < 0.001). The scatter plot of the data showed a linear correlation between the score for each exam and the total final score. This meant that students with a higher final score were able to perform better in each exam through having drawn up a meaningful concept map.
The average grade was significantly correlated with the total final score (R = 0.770), (p < 0.001). There was also a significant correlation between each exam score and the average grade (p < 0.001). The highest correlation was observed between Exam I (R = 0.7708) and the average grade. This means students with higher average grades had better grades in each exam, especially in drawing the concept map.
We hope that this competition will encourage medical schools to integrate theory and practice, analyze data, and read research articles. Our findings relate to a selected population, and our data may not be applicable to all medical students. Therefore, further studies are required to validate our results.