Musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge retention in the Macquarie University chiropractic program: a cross-sectional study

Anneliese K. Hulme*, Kehui Luo, Goran Štrkalj

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Attrition of anatomy knowledge has been an area of concern in health professions curricula. To ensure safe and effective clinical practice, the study of chiropractic requires a good knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy. In this study, musculoskeletal limb knowledge retention was investigated among students in the 5-year chiropractic program at Macquarie University, Australia. A test of 20 multiple-choice questions, categorized into low-order (LO) and high-order (HO) cognitive ability according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, was developed. Students enrolled in the program were invited to participate with 257 of the 387 choosing to participate, (response rate ranging 56%–72% per year level). No attrition of knowledge across the years was observed, instead, a significant increase in knowledge, measured by total LO and HO scores (P < 0.0005), throughout the program. There were significant increases in both low and high cognitive scores which were not uniform, with high-order scores increasing significantly in the last two year levels. The increase of knowledge, may be explained, at least partially, by the vertical and horizontal integrated curriculum. Retrieval of knowledge, especially in clinically applied formats, may have led to an enhanced ability to apply anatomy knowledge and account for the increased scores in the high-order knowledge seen in the later clinical years. Evaluating anatomy knowledge retention at different cognitive levels seems to provide a better assessment and is worth considering in future anatomy educational research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)182-191
    Number of pages10
    JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
    Issue number2
    Early online date28 Mar 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


    • chiropractic education
    • gross anatomy education
    • knowledge retention
    • medical education
    • musculoskeletal anatomy
    • testing anatomy knowledge


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