Impact of medical students' descriptive evaluations on long-term course development
1 Department of Primary Health Care, the Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden
2 Department of Education, Göteborg University, Sweden
3 Department of Applied Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:24 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-24Published: 25 April 2006
In medical education, feedback from students is helpful in course evaluation. However, the impact of medical students' feedback on long-term course development is seldom reported. In this project we studied the correspondence between medical students' descriptive evaluations and key features of course development over five years.
Qualitative content analysis was used. The context was consultation skills courses in the middle of the Göteborg undergraduate curriculum during five years. An analysis of 158 students' descriptive evaluations was brought together with an analysis of key features of course development; learning objectives, course records, protocols from teachers' evaluations and field notes. Credibility of data was tested by two colleagues and by presenting themes at seminars and conferences. Authors' experiences of evaluating the course over many years were also used.
A corresponding pattern was found in students' descriptive evaluations and key features of course development, indicating the impact of students' open-ended feed-back. Support to facilitators and a curriculum reform also contributed.
Students' descriptive feedback was both initiating and validating longitudinal course implementation. During five years, students' descriptive evaluations and teachers' course records were crucial sources in a learner-centred knowledge-building process of course development.
Students' descriptive evaluations and course records can be seen as important instruments in developing both courses and students' learning. Continuity and endurance in the evaluation process must be emphasized for achieving relevant and useful results.