Arch Hellen Med, 34(1), January-February 2017, 58-64
The two most serious problems in the educational environment of Greek medical schools,
K. Dima,1 A.L. Panagiotopoulou,2 A. Giatra,3 E. Dimitriadou,4 P. Dimitropoulou,5 G. Kavvadia,2 Ο. Kontaxi,1
OBJECTIVE Medical students are influenced by their educational environment (EE) in ways that can facilitate or impede their learning. This study aimed to measure the quality of the EE of the Greek medical schools.
METHOD The Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM) questionnaire, an internationally recognized tool for the measurement of the perceptions of students about the EE of their schools, translated into Greek, was disseminated electronically to the students of all years, of all the medical schools in the country. It consists of 50 questions covering various aspects of EE, grouped into 5 categories, "learning", "teachers", "academic performance", "atmosphere", "social life". For each question, category and total sum the average score was calculated and interpreted as follows: 0–24.9% very poor EE, 25–39.9% poor, 40–49.9% fairly poor, 50–59.9% fairly positive, 60–74.9% positive, 75–100% very positive.
RESULTS A total of 803 students (330 male, 468 female) responded, with representation of all the schools (specifically, Thessaloniki 179, Ioannina 157, Athens 100, Thessaly 95, Patras 92, Crete 91, Thrace 89) and of all years of study (first 170, second 121, third 144, fourth 125, fifth 109, sixth 94, after sixth 40), although the sample was not statistically representative. The overall score was 51%, with the sub-scores: "Teachers" 54%, "academic performance" 54%, "social life" 53%, "atmosphere" 52%, "learning" 45%. Particularly negative aspects were: Teachers informing students about their progress (15%), support for students who are stressed (21%), boredom in class (33%), emphasis on memorizing rather than critical thinking (34%), ability of students to memorize everything needed (39%). Particularly good aspects were: Pleasant accommodation (77%), good friends (76%), teachers knowledgeable in their disciplines (72%), good social life (70%), conviction that this time they will pass their exams (68%), feeling socially comfortable in class (67%), not finding the whole experience disappointing (66%).
CONCLUSIONS Greek medical students perceive the EE of their schools at the cut-off point between poor and good, with serious problems to be addressed. Their attitude towards learning in particular is below the limit (4.5). Particularly positive aspects were identified in the extracurricular aspects of the EE, and particularly negative aspects in the curriculum and learning, where it is apparent that effective evidencebased measures are needed. The two worst aspects could be readily improved. Systematic annual measurement of the EE quality would provide the necessary data for implementing evidence-based educational policy.
Key words: DREEM, Educational environment/climate, Greece, iCAN!, Medical students, School evaluation/assessment, Translation, Undergraduate education.