Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

How to Evaluate & The Evaluation Cycle



Further Information

Key Contacts

Professor Sandra Carr
Faculty Associate Dean,
Teaching and Learning

Asst Professor Sue Miller
Chair, Faculty Evaluation Committee

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The evaluation process should be planned at the start of developing a curriculum or learning experience and not added as an afterthought. Conceptual models and frameworks can help to assist our understanding of curriculum evaluation and that information from feedback is a driver of change.

1.    Evaluation Cycle

Evaluation is a continuous process or cycle of educational quality improvement rather than a research question to be answered. A model of the evaluation cycle is often used as presented in figure 1. Fundamental to this process is establishing clear course learning outcomes and the learning environment associated with teaching and learning around which evaluation can be constructed, data analysed and recommendations made. Once the changes are made in the curriculum, the process can start again. 


Illustration of the Evaluation Cycle, described at http://www.meddent.uwa.edu.au/teaching/faculty-evaluation/evaluation-cycle/descriptions

Figure 1: The Evaluation Cycle  


2. Task-oriented Evaluation Model

The task-oriented model of program evaluation consists of five steps or tasks.

Illustration of the task-oriented evaluation model, described at http://www.meddent.uwa.edu.au/teaching/faculty-evaluation/evaluation-cycle/descriptions

                            Figure 2: Task-oriented Evaluation Model


3. Kirkpatrick's Hierarchy of Program Evaluation

Kirkpatrick has described four levels of evaluation of program outcomes. 

These four levels have been adapted for use in health professional education evaluation. At the base (the lowest level) is learners' satisfaction or reaction with the course/program, followed by the modification of attitudes and perceptions, the knowledge and skills gained, the changes in health professionals' behaviours or practice, the change in the institution's practice, and finally, at the top of the hierarchy, health care outcomes.  Course evaluation should start with the first level.  However, unfortunately, many educational evaluations are only at the lower levels of the hierarchy. 


 Figure 3: Kirkpatrick's Hierarchy for Health Professional Education Evaluation
                      (Adapated from Barr et al 2000; Belfield et al 2001)


Course evaluation also applies at all levels.  At each level the relevant stakeholders views should be sought to inform the curriculum, including those students who have exited the course.

The aim of evaluation of the curriculum is to assess the adequacy of the processes surrounding curriculum implementation and establishment; identify the impact of the curriculum upon students and graduates and compare the new and old curricula. 

Evaluation therefore needs to be carried out in four main areas:

  • Processes surrounding the curriculum implementation and curriculum design
  • Content of the curriculum and teaching methods used
  • Impact through assessment of student performance
  • Outcomes via performance of graduates in the community.