The purpose of the study was to compare the knowledge scores of medical students in Problem-based Learning and traditional curriculum on public health topics.
We planned a cross-sectional study including the fifth and sixth year medical students of Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey. The fifth year students (PBL group, n = 56) were the pioneers educated with PBL curriculum since the 1997–1998 academic year. The sixth year students (traditional education group, n = 78) were the last students educated with traditional education methods. We prepared 25 multiple-choice questions in order to assess knowledge scores of students on selected subjects of Public Health. Our data were collected in year 2002.
Mean test scores achieved in PBL and traditional groups were 65.0 and 60.5 respectively. PBL students were significantly more successful in the knowledge test (p = 0.01). The knowledge scores of two topics were statistically higher among PBL students. These topics were health management and chronic diseases.
We found that mean total evaluation score in the PBL group was 4.5 points higher than in the traditional group in our study. Focusing only on the knowledge scores of students is the main limitation of our study. Upon the graduation of the first PBL students in the 2002–2003 academic year, we are planning additional studies regarding the other functions of a physician such as skill, behaviour and attitude.