Measuring students' perceptions of the educational climate of the new curriculum at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: performance of the Spanish translation of the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM).Educ Health (Abingdon). 2009 May; 22(1):112.EH
During the last decade a major curriculum reform was carried out at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Medical School. The process included changes in curriculum development, staff development and in the infrastructure. However, it is not known how students perceived the climate of their education within the new model.
To measure students' perceptions of the educational environment of the new curriculum and to evaluate the internal consistency of the 50-item Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) Spanish version questionnaire.
The DREEM Spanish version questionnaire was administered to undergraduate medical students in training years 3, 4 and 5. 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.
Responses were received from 297 out of 328 students (90.5%). The 50-item DREEM Spanish version was found highly reliable with an alpha coefficient of 0.91. The subscale with the highest mean score was "Academic Self-Perceptions", which indicates students' perceptions of their academic achievements. Mean score of this subscale was 22.3 +/- 4.1 corresponding to 69.7% of the maximum score. The lowest mean score was for the Students' Perceptions of their Social Environment: 15.9 +/- 4.0 (56.8%). The overall mean score for the 50 items was 127.5 +/- 20.9 (63.8% of maximum). Scores observed in students in year 5 were significantly lower for several subscales, including Students' Perceptions of Learning, Students' Perceptions of Teachers, Students' Perceptions of the Learning Atmosphere and Students' Perceptions of the Social Environment, and also lower for the overall mean score (119.3 +/- 20.2) compared to scores in years 3 and 4 (128.8 +/- 21 and 132.5 +/- 19.7, respectively; p<0.001).
The school's educational climate was generally perceived positively by students, although they viewed the school's social environment less favorably. Specific areas identified by students as needing improvement included an overloaded curriculum and inadequate student supports. The DREEM Spanish version proved generally reliable, by internal consistency scores based on ratings by Chilean undergraduate medical students; it should be a useful tool for assessing students' perceptions of the educational environments of other Latin American medical schools.