Boy's own revisited

March 17, 1995

Laurie Taylor (THES, March 10) was clearly unimpressed with the article by John Davies on the increasing use of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in student assessment (THES, March 3).

I was intrigued that the collection of academics quoted as extolling the virtues of MCQs was exclusively male. There is extensive evidence from GCE O-level results that the use of MCQs instead of other forms of assessment favours male students over female students. This is a consistent pattern across the majority of academic disciplines, the main exception being mathematics (see R. J. L. Murphy, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 1982). Another case of "Boys' Own Education"?

JOHN RICHARDSON

Department of human sciences

Brunel University

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