Accreditation Essentials: Ensuring Comparability Across Sites and Campuses

Managing multiple campuses and sites within an institution can pose a significant challenge, especially when it comes to ensuring educational consistency. The task of collecting, matching, and presenting data from various sources to a specific site or campus can be daunting.

For those navigating the LCME accreditation maze, one is bound to come across standard 8.7 in the Data Collection Instrument (DCI). This standard emphasizes the “Comparability of Education/Assessment.” In essence, it requires medical schools to ensure a consistent educational experience and uniform assessment methods across all locations for any given course or clerkship. The aim? To make certain every medical student meets identical educational objectives, no matter where they study. However, the process of assembling and sifting through the necessary data from different locations can be intricate and demanding.

But here’s the silver lining: demonstrating adherence to this standard, especially when your institution sprawls across multiple locations, can be simplified. With the right systems and a rigorous approach to data standardization and reporting, what once seemed an intricate puzzle can become a manageable task.

Start with timely access

Immediate access to evaluations—both of the learners and their educational experiences—is pivotal. Having this data at your fingertips ensures you’re notified promptly, allowing for swift review and response to any issues highlighted in student feedback. Through our consultations with medical schools, it’s evident that quick access to this evaluation data is foundational for continuous quality improvement (CQI) initiatives. It sets the stage for a proactive review process.

When institutions have a real-time pulse on how students perceive their learning—across all sites and campuses—it fuels the CQI cycle. However, the challenge lies in data organization. Most medical schools, despite collecting invaluable data, find themselves compiling reports only at the end of a course or clerkship. This delay often means missed opportunities to promptly address any discrepancies or issues at specific sites or campuses.

The power of cross-campus data comparison in curriculum review

  • No news is usually good news, when it comes to exam results: When analyzing exam outcomes, a lack of discrepancies or anomalies between campuses or sites can be a positive indicator. In a multi-campus setup, consistent results can indicate stability and lessen the need for immediate intervention.
  • Examine the “why” behind anomalies: Should there be differences in reported outcomes between sites, it becomes essential to delve deeper. Identifying the root cause and understanding the reasons for these variances is crucial.
  • Streamline student feedback across sites: Implement solutions that simplify the aggregation and categorization of feedback data from various campuses. By doing so, it becomes easier to discern patterns or anomalies in student experiences.
  • Longitudinal data offers a clearer perspective: Analyzing a specific data point over time for all locations can highlight any isolated or recurring issues, making them easier to identify and address.
  • Segment analysis for precise interventions: Breaking down exam results and feedback by specific student demographics—like admission type or MCAT scores—can provide invaluable insights. This stratified approach can pinpoint if particular student groups are facing challenges, guiding tailored interventions or support.
  • Address targeted needs: When the data indicates a specific student group facing challenges, it provides an opportunity. By addressing their unique needs, the institution can offer a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

By embracing these strategies, educational institutions can make data-informed decisions, ensuring that all students—regardless of campus or site—receive a consistent and high-quality learning experience.

Putting change into motion

We collaborated with Mercer School of Medicine, an institution that delivers its four-year M.D. program across three distinct campuses. Ensuring consistency among these campuses is a priority for their Student Affairs team and faculty. They have to meticulously evaluate performance and sift through intricate reporting details from each site.

Mercer’s innovative approach involves merging data from diverse sources like matriculation data, ExamSoft, NBME® scores, grades, and evaluation insights from One45 and Analytics by Acuity Insights. The result? The team at Mercer now enjoys prompt access to comprehensive reporting data, bypassing the tedious wait often associated with manual report generation. Such a system not only streamlines their cross-campus comparison process but also quickly highlights any low-performance scores for immediate review.

One noteworthy enhancement for Mercer’s team has been the ability to tap into their NBME® data through the Analytics dashboard. This dynamic feature allows them to seamlessly monitor longitudinal trends in NBME® scores throughout the clerkships and across all campuses. The best part? There’s no manual input required.

Site and campus comparability reporting in Analytics

Within Analytics, you’re able to view site and campus performance and filter by subject, course or clerkship, to view grade distribution, NBME scores, and other key data so that you can easily perform and prepare for curriculum reviews and accreditation requirements for site and campus comparability.

Investing time in refining your review processes pays dividends. By eliminating hurdles and offering a crystal-clear view of performance results across various sites and campuses, you can proactively address potential concerns. Such preemptive measures ensure that minor setbacks don’t escalate into significant challenges, and you always have the evidence at hand to validate your decisions and strategies.

Want to learn more about how Analytics can help you deliver easy reporting on site comparability and across campus assessment? Book a demo to have us show you more.