How do I assess the quality of my clinical teaching?

Q:   I’m interested in trying to assess the quality of my clinical teaching.  Can you provide any advice/suggestions on a good way to do this?

A:    There are various ways you might approach this, depending on who your audience is (eg undergraduate, postgraduate students or colleagues) and how and when you might try to collect this information.  In addition, the importance of the immediacy of feedback, how much time you and they have available and the tool(s) you might use, will also need to be considered.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. One of the simplest methods is to conduct a 2-minute paper at the end of a clinical teaching session.  It may be in the form of 1-2 questions that can provide you with immediate feedback on the quality of your clinical teaching.  For example;

Q1: What was the best part of this clinical teaching session?

Q2: From your perspective, what areas or information covered still require further explanation?

2. If you are working with undergraduate or postgraduate students, check with their training institution to see whether they collect any evaluation information from the students on their clinical placement experiences.  If they do, ask if you can be provided with copies (with any identifying details removed).  This information may or may not directly address the ‘quality of your clinical teaching’, but where it exists it will provide you with valuable feedback on the placement from a learner’s perspective.

3. You may decide to directly survey your students to get their feedback.  In this case you may have specific questions you’d like to ask, or you can use an existing tool if it will meet your needs (The Clinical Teaching Effectiveness Instrument, Hem-Stokroos etal (2005), and the Maastricht Clinical Teaching Questionnaire, Stalmeijer etal (2010) provide examples of two possible tools).

Note: If you adopt this approach I recommend you implement your feedback survey once all assessment requirements are completed.  Even better, get a colleague to hand it out/collect it in on your behalf.  This will go some way towards addressing the potential for social desirability bias.

  1. In conjunction with student feedback collected in one of the above ways, it may be useful for you to independently self-assess and then compare your perspective with that of your learners. (The Stalmeijer etal (2010) article on student ratings and self-assessment provides an example of this approach).

Goodluck – I hope this information helps!

Further Information

Please refer to the following journal articles:

van der Hem-Stokroos, H.H., van der Vleuten C.P.M., Daelmans, H.E.M., Haarman, H.J.T.M., Scherpbier, A.J.J.A. (2005). Reliability of the Clinical Teaching Effectiveness Instrument. Medical Education; 39: 904-910.

Stalmeijer, R.E., Dolmans, D.H.J.M, Wolfhagen, I.H.A.P., Muijtjens, A.M.M., Scherpbier, A.J.J.A. (2010). The Maastricht Clinical Teaching Questionnaire (MCTQ) as a valid and reliable instrument for the evaluation of clinical teachers. Academic Medicine; 85: 1732-1738.

Stalmeijer, R.E., Dolmans, D.H.J.M, Wolfhagen, I.H.A.P., Peters, W.G., van Coppenolle, L., Scherpbier, A.J.J.A. (2010). Combined student ratings and self-assessment provide useful feedback for clinical teachers. Advances in Health Science Education; 15: 315-328.