CDEM Voice

FOAMonthly: Room for Improvement?

Dec 17, 2018, 13:57 PM by Nick Olah
With Match behind us, we are entering the last quarter of the academic year. Many will reflect on the progress of graduating medical students and residents and anticipate the arrival of new medical students and interns. Along with that reflection and anticipation, medical schools are likely to be delivering end-of-course evaluations.

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Room for Improvement? 

With Match behind us, we are entering the last quarter of the academic year. Many will reflect on the progress of graduating medical students and residents and anticipate the arrival of new medical students and interns. Along with that reflection and anticipation, medical schools are likely to be delivering end-of-course evaluations. An article by Dr. Maryellen Weimer on the website Faculty Focus entitled What Can We Learn from End-of-Course Evaluations? discusses how to use end-of-course evaluations to improve the quality of your teaching and your students’ learning.

First, mindset is important. End-of-course evaluations should be viewed as an opportunity for improvement; regardless of how good (or bad) the scores, there is always an opportunity to improve the learning experiences for students. Next, be curious. Use global ratings to ask yourself questions about your teaching style and why it is or is not effective for your learners. The article references the Teaching Perspectives Inventory which is helpful in providing information about your instructional strategies and can also provide useful insights for Educator Portfolios and educational philosophy statements. Finally, we need to be specific and timely in the feedback we request from our students. The start-stop-continue method has been shown to improve the quality of student feedback. Ask students what you should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing. Course directors can also share their interpretations of the feedback and develop an action plan for change and quality monitoring. End-of-course evaluations no longer need to evoke a sense of dread!

Kendra Parekh, MD
Assistant Professor
Director of Undergraduate Medical Education
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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