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close this bookTeacher's Guide on Basic Environmental Health (WHO, 1999, 327 p.)
close this folderPart One: Teaching environmental health
close this folderOrganizing a course or workshop
close this folderCurriculum development
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Goals and objectives
View the document2. Required background
View the document3. Subject matter/teaching methods
Open this folder and view contents4. Selected teaching methods
Open this folder and view contents5. Audiovisual materials
View the document6. Reading list, resources
View the document7. Timetabling
View the document8. Evaluation
View the document9. Follow-up

8. Evaluation

Evaluation is a continuous process which should occur throughout the course (formative evaluation) and at its conclusion (summative evaluation) to both examine the student’s progress as well as the learning process. Formative evaluation promotes student learning by optimizing the learning experience, while summative evaluation facilitates decisions about learner performance and progress in a course and the assignment of academic grades.

Evaluation is very important for several reasons. It allows the instructor to:

- receive feedback, identify problems and make appropriate mid-course adjustments;
- monitor student performance and assess whether learning objectives are met;
- improve her/his performance in future educational sessions.

Evaluation allows the student to:

- evaluate the course content as well as the instructor’s presentation skills, techniques used, facilities and course organization;

- assess and improve her/his own performance.

Formative evaluation can be accomplished using informal feedback from students at the end of each session, with more in-depth assessments half-way through the course and at its completion. Mid-course evaluation can also include assignments, tests (which incorporate a problem-solving approach) and observation of skills in the classroom (presentations, demonstrations, role-plays, etc.). Since the purpose of formative evaluation is to improve the learning experience, feedback should address the following issues: learning objectives (are they being met?); course content (level of interest, relevance and difficulty); effectiveness of teaching methods and aids; student participation; level of enthusiasm and motivation generated. It is important to emphasize that formative evaluation does not necessarily correlate with an individual’s knowledge about the course material and academic performance.

Summative evaluation often includes similar tools. Final judgements about student progress should be made on the basis of multiple assessments obtained on different occasions using a variety of methods. Students should be informed in advance of the evaluation methods which will be used and should be active participants in the process. Frequently used methods to evaluate student performance include written examinations with multiple choice questions and essay questions, projects or special assignments and oral examinations. Resources for developing evaluation approaches are available in several handbooks (see references).

Evaluation of the course and the teachers by the students is as important as examination of the students. Anonymous questionnaires are often employed for end-of-course assessments. Time should be allowed for this during the class. Students should be asked for both positive and negative feedback and for constructive suggestions as to how the course might be improved. Teachers should remember that it is impossible to meet the needs of all students; students’ comments may even be contradictory.