Independent Student Analysis

The process for creating the Independent Student Analysis (ISA) should be coordinated by a small steering committee composed of students, representative of the student body, who preferably are selected or approved by the student body. This steering committee could include, among other members, representatives from the student council, class officers, and school representatives to national medical student organizations. Ideally, these students should come from all classes and campuses if applicable. The ISA survey needs to be administered to all enrolled students to develop a comprehensive picture of students’ perceptions of their medical education program.

Logistical support can be provided by the medical school to students (e.g., placing the survey on electronic platform, delivery of the survey, data collection, statistical analysis, etc.). Technical advice (e.g., for the development of additional questions) can also be provided as long as it remains independent of faculty. The interpretation of survey data and the preparation of the report of the ISA must be done exclusively by students.

An effective ISA will be based on extensive data from the entire student body. A high response rate to the survey is critical for the credibility of the data. The students responsible for the ISA need to inform the student body about the importance of participating in the survey and the seriousness with which the site visit team and the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) regard the results.

Survey raw data must be provided to the school’s self-study steering committee as soon as they become available so that the DCI can be completed, and the subcommittees can perform their work. Students concurrently perform their own data interpretation, data summary, and an analysis of student perceptions of the program’s strengths and achievements and areas for improvement. In addition to the actual data, the student leadership submit a report that includes the administered survey, a description of how the survey was conducted, an analysis of the participation of students across all years of the program and by campus, and summarizes the key findings and conclusions based on the survey data.

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