Florida International University’s - Medical School finds Solutions in Questionmark
Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Medicine is South Florida's only public medical school. Created in 2006 amid pressing community health concerns and a projected critical shortage of physicians nationally, the College of Medicine opened its doors during the fall semester of 2009 with 40 students in its inaugural class. Forty-two students are currently enrolled in the College, which has developed a curriculum that reflects an innovative, 21st century approach to health care and medical education.
With the goals of providing quality, affordable medical education to physicians who are culturally sensitive to South Florida's diverse demographics, FIU’s college of Medicine hopes to help advance South Florida's health care dynamic by facilitating improved access to first-rate medical care among the medically underserved populations of South Florida.
It was Leslie Bofill’s job to research solutions and find an assessment management system that would meet the new college’s goals. Bofill, manager of education technology at FIU, visited medical schools and compared various options before eventually deciding on Questionmark. “We looked at our program and identified goals based on our own needs and then looked for a solution that met those needs,” recalls Bofill. “Ultimately, Questionmark’s reporting tools stood out from the rest, as did Questionmark’s Secure Browser. We knew we wanted to deliver exams electronically but we didn’t want to physically police students not to cheat; securing the browser during an exam does that for us.”
FIU began implementing Questionmark in April of 2009; in August 2009 the system was launched along with the Medical School itself. “We worked very hard to get the system ready by testing it, inviting the rest of the College to take exams that we ran question analysis reports on and gathered data from,” Bofill adds. “To this day, we work closely with Questionmark to customize and continue to build our item banks, but it is exciting to be a brand new school with a brand new solution we know fulfills all of our needs.”
With three or four courses running simultaneously at the College of Medicine and using Questionmark, the college has plenty of data to evaluate and plenty of tools to help them. Questionmark reports, according to Bofill, have helped the college improve course quality. “We rely heavily on Questionmark’s robust analysis reports to evaluate test questions,” Bofill explains. “Item analysis reports offer faculty truly invaluable information: they can reconsider and rewrite test questions, creating stronger exams and a stronger curriculum.”
The College uses Questionmark for evaluations as well as course-related quizzes and tests. Students use it to evaluate their courses, their physician supervisors, clerkship locations and overall experiences.
“Student opinion on the classes and coursework is very important to the college in order to ultimately understand the student’s experience,” Bofill said.”We open up the dialogue between students and faculty by giving the students a group voice and a chance to comment in the evaluation.” Using Likert Scale results and comments from each course evaluation, the college sets up a meeting during which the instructor and two students to review the reports.
A year into building databases and strengthening the use of Questionmark, Bofill is looking forward to continuing to benefit from the tools offered by Questionmark. “Our goal is to push the envelope,” Bofill says. “We look forward to upgrading to Questionmark Version 5 and using the new features and tools that will help us continue to improve our program.”
Bofill is looking forward to embedding student surveys into social networks. “Right now we only get about 30 percent of student surveys back. Incorporating these surveys into social networking sites will help us reach out to our students where they feel the most at ease and, in return, get a greater completion rate on surveys—that will be an exciting time!”