What is assessment & its role at Rowan SOM?

Assessment CycleAssessment is the systematic collection, interpretation and use of information about the effectiveness of the institution and its educational programs in an effort to improve student learning and achieve targeted outcomes.

The assessment cycle begins with defining the desired outcomes which subsequently drives curriculum delivery and provides the foundation for the assessment process.

The goal of the assessment office?

The Assessment Office within the Department of Academic Affairs was established to promote continuous quality improvement in the delivery of high-quality medical education that meets accreditation standards and ensures the competence of medical student graduates in order to promote patient safety in the delivery of quality health care. The Outcomes Assessment Plan serves as a blueprint for the assessment of the institution’s education mission.

Assessment CycleThe assessment office provides the critical infrastructure needed to support the assessment process in three major areas:

  • Effectiveness of the curriculum
  • Quality of faculty instruction, both in the classroom and in the clinical setting
  • Student overall performance and competence

A full-range of assessment strategies and educational technologies are utilized in the assessment process. Data are gathered from multiple internal and external sources, analyzed and interpreted in the context of institutional and national benchmarks, and disseminated to students, faculty, administrators, and other key stakeholders as part of a 360 degree continuous quality improvement effort.

Learner Assessment

Learner assessment targets measurable student and graduate outcomes linked to the school’s overall mission. Student performance measures focus on competency achievement and evaluation of the established learning competencies. Data collected on each student includes admissions data (MCAT, GPA, etc.), medical school performance (grades, competency scores, capstone clinical skills exam, national testing scores, etc.), residency match data and performance. Longitudinal datasets track student performance measures across all four years and are analyzed for predictors of success.

Policy determines measures for student progress and academic failure, in both basic science courses and clinical rotations. The Rowan SOM Grading Policy (below) specifies standards to evaluate student performance across disciplines and prepares students for board examinations:

Honors 90-100
High Pass 80-89
Pass 70-79
Fail 69 or lower
* As of June 4, 2013, SOM did away with the Low Pass grade (65-69)

Curriculum Assessment

Curriculum Assessment focuses on curriculum content and delivery, instructional strategies and teaching effectiveness. An annual review of the curriculum including all courses and in-system rotations is conducted by the Assessment Office (see: RowanSOM Course and Clerkship Review Policy). Student performance compared to institutional trends and national benchmarks and survey feedback are key elements of the curriculum review process.

A comprehensive review is conducted on all required courses and clerkships once every three (3) years by the Program Evaluation and Student Assessment (PESA) committee. PESA utilizes the following forms to conduct standardized course and clerkship reviews: RowanSOM Course/Module Review Form; RowanSOM Clerkship Review Checklist. In-depth evaluation of course/clerkship performance is based upon multiple data sources including program data, student performance data, and student feedback. Comparability analysis of the training provided across clerkship hub locations is critical component of the curriculum review process.

Quality Assessment/Quality Improvement process utilizes data to improve learning and instruction and meet or exceed academic and institutional goals.

  • Course and Clerkship Evaluation – students rate each course and clerkship on learning objectives, content, instruction/learning experiences, administration/organization, feedback, and overall quality. Annual mean performance, change in performance over time and a comparison of mean performance across the curriculum are evaluated.
  • Course and Clerkship Performance – trends in exam and grade distribution are analyzed. Mean competency performance as measured by exam items and clinical evaluation results are also tracked over time. Trends in COMAT and COMLEX performance by discipline and content area are compared across years and to national benchmarks

Instructor Assessment & Evaluation

  • Instructor and Preceptor Evaluation – students rate each faculty instructor and preceptor on preparation, content, teaching skills, teaching environment, student participation and feedback, as well as overall effectiveness. Mean faculty performance is compared to overall mean performance.

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