DR. DARUNEE RUJKORAKARN
The purpose of program evaluation is to demonstrate the achievement of end-of-program student learning outcomes and program outcomes. Results of program evaluation guide all necessary improvements.
Because nursing is a practice discipline, it is essential, at the beginning of curriculum development, to clearly identify, define, and clarify the expected competencies to be achieved by students. Specifying competencies and end-of-program learning outcomes, build a foundation for faculty to implement academic activities and for administrators to provide structural elements that can align teaching with learning, and be congruent with student assessment strategies. A well-planned systematic evaluation of outcomes is an important process that allows all members of the nursing program to develop and organize its end-of-program student learning outcomes and program outcomes. An evaluation of end-of-program student learning outcomes should be conducted at the close of each academic year. Student learning outcomes generally consist of two parts:
- General learning outcomes, such as acquisition of knowledge, cognitive skills, communication skills, and ethical values; and
- Specified learning outcomes, consisting of a set of clinical nursing skills.
Both learning outcomes are mapped accordingly to each course in the curriculum. However, achievement of course-level student learning outcomes does not necessarily represent student achievement of an end-of-program learning outcome. Student performance is an integration of multiple student learning outcomes. Therefore, students should be evaluated after they have completed the program.
Successful program evaluation in nursing education depends largely on how well the student learning outcomes and competencies are specified at the beginning of curriculum development.