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Program Evaluation

Measuring your educational program's success

What is program evaluation?

If you are looking to determine the merit, worth and/or value of a program then you may need to conduct a program evaluation. Whether your program is brand new, developing in new ways or fully mature, it is important to gather the right data to evaluate it. Gathering information on how your program is performing will ensure that you are being accountable to all involved: students, faculty, administration, community members and funders.

Why should you evaluate your program?

  • To evaluate whether a new program was successfully implemented
  • To provide evidence for decision making in the delivery/continuation of a program
  • To ensure outcomes (short-term, mid-term or long-term) associated with a particular program are achieved
  • To allow for ongoing program improvement

What is the difference between education research, assessment and program evaluation? 

  • Program evaluation uses predetermined metrics (measures) to gather information on a program to aid decision making and program improvement. We collect a variety of data using multiple methods.
  • Education research uses a variety of theorectical frameworks and various methodologies to answer a specific question of interest.  The results add to the current body of research literature but are not primarily used in decision making or program improvement.
  • Assessment uses a variety of measurement tools to measure the knowledge and skills acquired by individuals. Aggregated student assessment data is one of the measure used in a program evaluation plan.

Program evaluation at Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine

With the renewal of our undergraduate medical curriculum and the establishment of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) and the Education Council, program evaluation has become a key piece to meeting contractural and professional obligations. It allows us to measure and track the influence and impact of these major initiatives in medical education.

Current program evaluation projects include:

  • DMNB program evaluation: includes measuring of program outcomes (short, middle and long-term) including comparibility across sites
  • Education Council and key performance indicators: includes identifying specific measures that can be used to track the health of the medical program across the continuum
  • Virtual program evaluation network: includes coordination of administrative and managerial staff involved in program evaluation
  • Individualized program evaluation support: includes guidance in developing and implementing program evaluation plans for a variety of programs and projects associated with Dalhousie's medical education program
  • LOCATED (Location of Clinician and Trainee Education at Dalhousiie): a tracking system for measuring long-term outcomes for distributed medical education.

Research topics that we are currently exploring include:

  • longitudinal integrated clerkships
  • rural health week
  • evaluation of distributed education outcomes
  • comparability of student performance across sites
  • interprofessional education
  • community engagement
  • evaluation of medical education across the coninuum (undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development)
  • capacity building in program evaluation

Want to know more?

If you'd like to know more about program evaluation (resources, templates, guidance, mentoring, faculty development sessions) please contact Peggy Alexiadis Brown via e-mail  at palexiad@dal.ca or by phone at 902-494-7712.