Student self-assessment of strengths and needed improvements

· Education, Volume 3 Issue 2

Student self-assessment of strengths and needed improvements during a family medicine clerkship

Authors: Huang, William; Barning, Kenneth; Grigoryan, Larissa

Objective: There are few reports on how students self-assess their performance on a family medicine clerkship. We studied what students perceived as their strengths and areas of needed improvement at the mid-point in our family medicine clerkship.Methods: We introduced a form for family medicine clerkship students to self-assess their strengths and areas of needed improvements using the clerkship objectives as a standard. We calculated the frequency in which each clerkship objective was reported as a strength or an area of needed improvement. For students’ open-ended comments, two reviewers independently organized students’ comments into themes, then negotiated any initial differences into a set of themes that incorporated both the reviewers’ findings. We performed χ2 tests to determine any significant differences in the frequency of responses between male and female students.Results: During the study period (July 2012 to June 2014), 372 students submitted completed self-assessment forms. The most frequently reported strengths were professional objectives (48.9%) and interpersonal communication objectives (43.0%) The most frequently reported areas of needed improvement were the ability to explain key characteristics of commonly used medications (29.3%) and the ability to develop a management plan (28.5%). There were no significant differences in the frequency of responses between male and female students.

Conclusion: We now have a better understanding of students’ perceived strengths and areas of needed improvement in our family medicine clerkship. We have shared this information with our community faculty preceptors so that they will be better prepared to work with our students. Family medicine clerkship preceptors at other institutions may also find these results useful.