OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to (1) generate a valid questionnaire to determine immunology knowledge, (2) compare immunology knowledge across 3 different cohorts of chiropractic students that had already studied immunology, (3) examine the attitudes of chiropractic students to the study of immunology, and (4) examine whether students' attitudes affected their knowledge levels.
METHODS: Factor analysis was used to refine an immunology knowledge and perceptions questionnaire that was generated by a group of experts that was then completed by 90 students. Immunology knowledge level of each of the cohorts was compared using a 1-way analysis of variance. Kappa statistics were used to measure agreement between 2 statements, and logistic regression was used to determine whether students' attitudes were associated with their knowledge levels.
RESULTS: There was a significant difference in the immunology knowledge levels across the 3 year groups (F[2, 87] = 4.78, p = .011). Fifth-year students (n = 26) demonstrated 25% less immunology knowledge than third-year students (n = 35; p = .005). Of 90 students, 64 agreed that immunology knowledge was important to chiropractors, and 53 agreed that immunology knowledge was important for the average person. No relationship existed between their value of immunology knowledge and their score on the multiple-choice questions.
CONCLUSION: Third-year students' immunology knowledge was significantly higher than that of the fifth-year students. Students value immunology knowledge, but this does not translate to retention of this knowledge. The validated questionnaire is a useful tool for assessing immunology knowledge retention for undergraduate students.