As part of an advisory team in my educational institution for undergraduate nurses, I (among others) have been assigned to design a questionnaire that will assess students' and academic staff's perceptions about the ability of the final year's exams as an adequate tool for evaluating students': knowledge-understanding /competence-skills/ and judgment-approach (in other words, to judge whether they are ready to safely work in the real world). The final questionnaire comprises 21 questions regarding the above mentioned 3 basic concepts. I proposed the answers to be given on a 5-point balanced Likert-type scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree with a neutral midpoint). However, the rest of the team is in favour of using an unbalanced 4-point scale (disagree/agree a little/agree/strongly agree).
Question 1: Which scale would be more appropriate?
Also, I believe that this proposed tool needs to be validated and checked for reliability first before being administered to the target population, however, most of my colleagues disagree, since, the questions arise from the corresponding 21 statements of our national regulatory board, according to which:
- "Nurses must demonstrate knowledge of planning of health care measures",
- "Nurses must demonstrate the ability to draw care plans",
- "Nurses must demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge so as to deal with different situations" and so on.
The majority of the team is in favour of converting these statutory statements into a questionnaire as follows:
I believe that the test: Q1 "demonstrated knowledge of planning of health care measures", Q2 "demonstrated the ability to draw care plans"
and so on up to question 21, without checking for validity and reliability first.
Question 2: Shouldn't this tool be tested first for its reliability and validity (convergent, discriminant, criteria validity, factor analysis, etc)?