Assessment of the Educational Environment at Tikrit University College of Medicine (TUCOM)

Hamid Hindi Sarhan, Arazoo J. Amin


Background:  TUCOM was established in 1989 and since its establishment adopted an innovative curriculum. There is a need to study and evaluate the educational environment in the college.

Objective:   To measure students’ perceptions of the educational environment of the TUCOM curriculum and to evaluate the internal consistency of the 50-item Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) Arabic version questionnaire.

Methods: The DREEM Arabic version questionnaire was administered to undergraduate medical students in year 2 & 3. Internal consistency of the instrument and its subscales were measured with the method described by Cronbach, and the results were expressed with alpha coefficient ranging from 0 to 1.

Results:  The 50-item DREEM Arabic version was found highly reliable with alpha coefficient of 0.91. Scores for 10 out of 50 items (20%) were below 2, indicating areas of weaknesses of the TUCOM. Items 17, 3,50,23, and 33 had the lowest mean scores of the 50 items. The values for the majority of the items (96%) fell into the range that indicated aspects of the environment that would benefit from improvement (mean scores between 2 and 3). The subscale with the highest mean score was ''Academic Self-Perception'' which indicates student's perception of their academic achievements. Mean score of this subscale was 20.23 ± 4.8 corresponding to 63.22% of the maximum score for this domain. 

The subscale with the highest mean score was students' perceptions of their academic skills: 20.23 ± 4.8 out of 32, corresponding to 63.22% of the maximum score. The lowest mean score was for the students' perceptions of the college atmosphere: 23.97 ± 7.6 (49.94% of the maximum score). Scores observed for year 3 students were lower in subscales SPL, SPT, and SASP compared to years 2, but the difference not statistically significant.   The overall mean score for the 50 items was 113.91 ± 22.46 (56.96%).

Conclusion: The DREEM is a reliable and practical tool for assessing educational environment in Iraqi Medical Colleges. The learning environment of TUCOM is perceived positively and our students perspectives compares favorably with studies internationally. Certain problem areas identified such as cheating,  the support systems for students who become stressed,  teaching that over-emphasized factual learning, teaching is too teacher centered,  and students irritation of their teachers, these problems need to be examined more closely. In addition, other areas require enhancement in the TUCOM educational environment were identified for effective management of learning especially in the students perception of teachers and students perception of atmosphere sub domains.

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