Medical Science Educator

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 291–298 | Cite as

Developing Comprehensive Strategies to Evaluate Medical School Curricula

  • Sally A. SantenEmail author
  • Moshe Feldman
  • Sara Weir
  • Courtney Blondino
  • Meagan Rawls
  • Susan DiGiovanni


Evaluation of medical school curriculum is important to document outcomes, effectiveness of learning, engagement in quality improvement, and to meet accreditation compliance. This monograph provides a roadmap and resource for medical schools to meaningfully evaluate their curriculum based on specific metrics. The method of evaluation includes an examination of Kirkpatrick’s levels of outcomes including reactions, learning, behavior, and impact. It is important that student outcomes are mapped in relation to curricular objectives. There are specific outcomes that may be utilized to determine if the curriculum has met the institution’s goals. The first is comparison to national metrics (United States Medical Licensing Examinations and American Association of Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire). Second, medical schools collect internal program metrics, which include specific student performance metrics, such as number of students graduating, attrition, and matching to specialty. Further, schools may examine student performance and surveys in the preclerkship and clinical phases (e.g., grades, failing courses, survey responses about the curriculum), including qualitative responses on surveys or focus groups. As the learning environment is critical to learning, a deep dive to understand the environment and mistreatment may be important for program evaluation. This may be performed by specifically examining the Graduation Questionnaire, internal surveys, and mistreatment reporting. Finally, there are numerous attitudinal instruments that may help medical schools understand their students’ development at one point or over time. These include measurements of stress, wellness, burnout, lifelong learning, and attitudes toward patient safety. Together, examining the composite of outcomes helps to understand and improve the medical school curriculum.


Medical students Evaluation Assessment 


Funding Information

Dr. Santen receives funding for the evaluation work related to the Accelerating Change in Medical Education Grant from the American Medical Association.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Medical Science Educators 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Assessment, Evaluation and ScholarshipVirginia Commonwealth School of MedicineRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineVirginia Commonwealth School of MedicineRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Office of Medical Student EducationUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population HealthVirginia Commonwealth School of MedicineRichmondUSA
  5. 5.Medical Student Education & Student AffairsVirginia Commonwealth School of MedicineRichmondUSA

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