Asking the right questions, striving for right answers: Review of a renewed year curriculum evaluation process for undergraduate medical students

Sally J E Sargeant, Joanna Bishop, Michelle McLean

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationEducationpeer-review


Medical students are requested to complete several program evaluations throughout their curriculum journey. It
is therefore unsurprising that evaluation becomes a fatigued exercise for them, and can leave educators with
hollow or unconstructive feedback resulting in minimal positive pedagogical change. This paper documents
structural changes in the questions posed, data management and reporting to students.
Students provided group-based feedback for 10 blocks throughout the second year of their undergraduate
medical program. Feedback was sought at the end of each subject block, (a period of 3-4 weeks) and covered a
variety of teaching formats. Students were specifically asked to nominate key learning experiences for future
cohorts, suggest improvements and state perceived skills acquired. Responses were thematically analysed
within a framework of content, delivery and assessment.
Feedback revealed how students made linkages between subject blocks, scientific disciplines and psychosocial
elements of the curriculum. These perceived reported linkages increased in frequency during the year, alongside
commentaries on group-work processes. Students appreciated multimedia delivery and stated how they
integrated newly acquired communication skills with different subjects. Observations of global, indigenous and
public health featured prominently.
A group-based, interval contingent subject block evaluation strategy - alongside timely meetings student cohorts
to review their comments, - enables a clearer perspective of learning as a continuous endeavour, rather than
singular views on subject difficulty and tutor performance.
Take-home message:
Curriculum improvement depends well-constructed feedback. This is maximised by continually reviewing
evaluation practice, to ultimately give meaningful responses to students.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
EventThe 17th Ottawa Conference and the ANZAHPE 2016 Conference - Perth Exhibition and Conference Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 19 Mar 201623 Mar 2016
Conference number: 17th


ConferenceThe 17th Ottawa Conference and the ANZAHPE 2016 Conference
OtherThe continuum of healthcare professions education and assessment will be addressed, with sessions covering undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education. The Conference provides the opportunity to focus on developments in the assessment of competence in medicine and the healthcare professions internationally by following the Ottawa streams, or to look more generally at education in the healthcare professions by following the ANZAHPE streams. All participants will have the opportunity through one joint registration to attend sessions in either stream depending on their interests and needs.

In this period of economic rationalisation of resources, increasing demands on healthcare delivery and the required provision of evidence of best utilisation of finite resources to deliver health care, what should be our expectations of our trainees and health professionals in the workplace? How can we promote and share best practice in education, in assessment and in the evaluation of our training programmes? The Conference will provide ample opportunities to present and exchange ideas and concepts with colleagues from across the world.
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