Anonymous evals, what makes a teacher good, and other top headlines

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This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey: Here are four astracts of articles from the January 2004 issue of Family Medicine. Free full text is available here (don't we love that?). Here is the list of issues:

Afonso NM, Cardozo LJ, Mascarenhas OA, Aranha AN, Shah C. Are anonymous evaluations a better assessment of faculty teaching performance? A comparative analysis of open and anonymous evaluation processes. Fam Med 2005; 37(1):43-47.

OBJECTIVE: We compared teaching performance of medical school faculty using anonymous evaluations and open evaluations (in which the evaluator was not anonymous) and examined barriers to open evaluation.

METHODS: Residents and medical students evaluated faculty using an open evaluation instrume! nt in which their identity was indicated in the evaluation. Following this, they completed anonymous evaluation on the same faculty members. Aggregate outcomes using the two evaluation systems were compared. Outcomes by group of evaluators (residents and students) were analyzed. Trainees were also asked to rate the barriers to the open evaluation process.

RESULTS: A statistically significant difference between the open and anonymous evaluations was noted across all items, with faculty receiving lower scores on the anonymous evaluations. The mean score for all the items on the open evaluations was 4.45 +/- 0.65, compared to mean score of 4.07 +/- 0.80 on the anonymous evaluations. There was also a statistically significant difference between open and anonymous evaluations in five clinical teaching domains that were evaluated individually. Residents perceived that the three most common barriers to optimal evaluation were an apprehension of possible encounters with the same atte! nding physician in the future, destruction of working relationships with the attending, and a feeling of frustration with the evaluation system.

CONCLUSIONS: The evaluation of faculty teaching performance is complex. Most academic medical centers use the open evaluation format. This study supports the case for the use of the anonymous evaluation method as a more accurate reflection of teaching performance.

Buchel TL, Edwards FD. Characteristics of effective clinical teachers. Fam Med 2005; 37(1):30-35.

OBJECTIVES: Defining what makes an exceptional teacher is challenging. This study's objectives were to identify teaching attributes that residents and faculty value most and to determine whether the opinions of residents and faculty differed.

METHODS: A list of 15 teaching attributes was distributed to residents and faculty at eight family medicine residency programs. Respondents were asked to indicate the three most important and the three least important attributes of effective clinical educators.

RESULTS: Overall response rates were 58% for residents and 65% for faculty. Residents and faculty agreed that being enthusiastic and having clinical competence are important attributes and that scholarly activity is not as important. Residents felt it is important for an educator to respect their autonomy and independence as clinicians, whereas faculty members felt that this was among the least important traits. Faculty felt that serving as a role model worth emulating was important, but residents ranked this at the bottom of their list. Residents placed a higher premium on a faculty member's ability to answer questions clearly and explain difficult topics (labeled "clarity" in our study) and felt more strongly that it was important for quality educators to be readily available and able to provide a safe, nonjudgmental, nonthreatening learning environment.

CONCLUSIONS: There are areas of agreement and disagreement between faculty and residents about attributes of effective clinical teachers. With the implementation of competency-based assessment systems, it will become important to determine which attributes actually promote the development of competence among learners, thereby allowing the encouragement of those attributes.

Latessa R, Mouw D. Use of an audience response system to augment interactive learning. Fam Med 2005; 37(1):12-14.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Little data exist about the use of an Audience Response System (ARS) as an interactive educational tool in medical teaching. The goals of our pilot study were to determine whether an ARS can enhance educational experiences of health care providers.

METHODS: The learners in the study were mainly physicians, and the educational topic was treating self, family, and friends.

RESULTS: The learners reported that the ARS made the presentation more fun, helped them be more attentive, and allowed them to learn more than in traditional lecture formats.

CONCLUSIONS: An ARS has potential as a teaching tool in this setting.

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