Student evaluations of teaching and the development of a comprehensive measure of teaching effectiveness for medical schools

Constantina Constantinou, Marjo Wijnen-Meijer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The evaluation of courses and faculty is of vital importance in all higher education institutions including medical schools. Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) commonly take the form of completion of anonymous questionnaires and even though they were originally developed to evaluate courses and programmes, throughout the years they have also been used to measure teaching effectiveness and subsequently to guide important decisions related to the faculty's career progression. Nevertheless, certain factors and biases may influence SET rates and may not measure teaching effectiveness objectively. Although the literature on course and faculty evaluations is well-researched in general higher education, there are concerns with regards to the use of the same tools for evaluation of courses and teachers in medical programmes. Specifically, the SETs in general higher education cannot be directly applied to the structure of courses and delivery of curriculum in medical schools. This review provides an overview of how SETs can be improved at the levels of instrumentation, administration and interpretation. In addition, the paper supports that through the collection and triangulation of data from multiple sources, including students, peers, program administrators and self-awareness via the use of different methods such as peer reviews, focus groups and self-evaluations, it will be possible to develop a comprehensive evaluation system that will present an effective measure of teaching effectiveness, will support the professional development of medical teachers and will improve the quality of teaching in medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Course and faculty evaluation
  • Medical education
  • Student evaluations of teaching
  • Student learning
  • Teaching effectiveness


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