Continuous Curricular Feedback: A Formative Evaluation Approach to Curricular Improvement

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Curriculum evaluations are used to plan future revisions and other improvements in curriculum design. Most models are summative and occur at the end of a course, so improvements in instruction may be delayed. In this article, the authors describe the formative curriculum evaluation model adopted at the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In their model, representative student feedback is gathered in real time and used to modify courses and improve instruction. The central features of their continuous feedback model include developing a small cadre of preclinical and clinical student evaluators who are trained to obtain classwide input regarding all aspects of the curriculum, including teacher effectiveness, and meet regularly (weekly or monthly) with relevant faculty and administrators. The authors show how this curriculum evaluation approach maximizes student involvement in course development and provides opportunities for rapid improvements in course content and instruction as well as for the identification of barriers to effective clinical and preclinical educational experiences.

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