Portuguese University uses Questionmark as an evaluation tool for Degree in Medicine


A Portuguese University, Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI), through its Health Sciences Faculty, has implemented a new approach to delivering Medical Sciences education in Portugal. The method makes extensive use of e-learning, from the first to the final years of the Medical Degree, and uses Questionmark for all assessments used in the program. Responding to the new innovative teaching methods, this University has become a world wide case study and a reference on the Portuguese eLearning landscape.

Instead of a traditional classroom instructional environment, this new teaching model enables online trainers and tutors to produce and compile study materials and bibliographic references that are later made available to students via the UBI’s local intranet. There are also completely equipped classrooms for self-study development at the University campus. When the time comes for the students to practice at the hospital on a fulltime schedule, available online learning resources make information more accessible to students while fostering a collaborative learning experience.

Questionmark's Role

Few institutions in the world have relied an evaluation method on a digital tool as confidently as this faculty, and therefore, few have explored its potential as exhaustively. Although the tests may be disseminated via Internet, the faculty has adopted a method that requires the student’s presence for exams. Indeed, the only time these classes get together might be the evaluation moment. At these moments, the students are gathered at the University campus, access the local intranet and answer the exams presented with Questionmark.

The Medical Education Office evaluates the quality and effectiveness of all learning and assessment content to ensure a high quality of instruction. Assessments, in particular, are analysed and evaluated both before and following delivery to ensure reliability and validity. This process enables the faculty to both establish clear difficulty levels for each item and continually improve assessment content.

The Infrastructure

Questionmark’s Authoring, Scheduling, Delivery and Reporting functionalities have enabled the university to both simplify and optimise traditional evaluation processes. As there are no written tests to be read, corrected and graded, the system reduces the administrative burdens of gathering results from the many students and classes. The system’s ease of use, reliability and possibility of use online were key factors in the decision to deploy Questionmark. Plus, it afforded the additional benefit of enabling instructors to more easily monitor students learning progress and performance.

The technological infrastructure that supports this eLearning method is based on four dedicated servers, one of which completely dedicated to the assessment services. These servers are accessed via the faculty’s intranet, that connects the University to the several Hospitals and Medical Centres where students and teachers might be based. This way, the contents are always available for those who take part on the Medicine Degree.

Evaluation Methods

Since medical activity requires theoretical knowledge as well as clinical activity, both stages must be evaluated, but each according to different requisites. With Questionmark this Faculty can develop different evaluation methods according to the type of competences to be evaluated: the knowledge evaluations are implemented mostly based on multiple choice questions, and the clinical competencies are tested with “Decision Tree” exercises. The complete range of Questionmark’s question types allows this adaptation to different needs to take place very easily and the results are presented immediately. Time, resources and feasibility are optimised.