Fitting the Means to the Ends: One School’s Experience with Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Curriculum Evaluation During Curriculum Change1
Frye, Ann W.
Solomon, David J
Lieberman, Steven A.
Levine, Ruth E.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Medical Education Online
(issn: 1087-2981, eissn: 1087-2981)
Curriculum evaluation plays an important role in substantive curriculum change. The experience of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) with evaluation processes developed for the new Integrated Medical Curriculum (IMC) illustrates how evaluation methods may be chosen to match the goals of the curriculum evaluation process. Quantitative data such as ratings of courses or scores on external exams are useful for comparing courses or assessing whether standards have been met. Qualitative data such as students’ comments about aspects of courses are useful for eliciting explanations of observed phenomena and describing relationships between curriculum features and outcomes. The curriculum evaluation process designed for the IMC used both types of evaluation methods in a complementary fashion. Quantitative and qualitative methods have been used for formative evaluation of the new IMC courses. They are now being incorporated into processes to judge the IMC against its goals and objectives.