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      A psychometric appraisal of the DREEM

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          Abstract

          Background

          The quality of the Educational environment is a key determinant of a student centred curriculum. Evaluation of the educational environment is an important component of programme appraisal. In order to conduct such evaluation use of a comprehensive, valid and reliable instrument is essential. One of most widely used contemporary tools for evaluation of the learning environment is the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM). Apart from the initial psychometric evaluation of the DREEM, few published studies report its psychometric properties in detail. The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric quality of the DREEM measure in the context of medical education in Ireland and to explore the construct validity of the device.

          Methods

          239 final year medical students were asked to complete the DREEM inventory. Anonymised responses were entered into a database. Data analysis was performed using PASW 18 and confirmatory factor analysis performed.

          Results

          Whilst the total DREEM score had an acceptable level of internal consistency (alpha 0.89), subscale analysis shows that two subscales had sub-optimal internal consistency. Multiple group confirmatory factor analysis (using Fleming's indices) shows an overall fit of 0.76, representing a weak but acceptable level of fit. 17 of the 50 items manifest fit indices less than 0.70. We sought the best fitting oblique solution to the 5-subscale structure, which showed large correlations, suggesting that the independence of the separate scales is open to question.

          Conclusions

          There has perhaps been an inadequate focus on establishing and maintaining the psychometric credentials of the DREEM. The present study highlights two concerns. Firstly, the internal consistency of the 5 scales is quite variable and, in our sample, appears rather low. Secondly, the construct validity is not well supported. We suggest that users of the DREEM will provide basic psychometric appraisal of the device in future published reports.

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          Most cited references 32

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          AMEE Medical Education Guide No. 23 (Part 1): Curriculum, environment, climate, quality and change in medical education-a unifying perspective.

           J Genn (2001)
          This paper looks at five focal terms in education - curriculum, environment, climate, quality and change - and the interrelationships and dynamics between and among them. It emphasizes the power and utility of the concept of climate as an operationalization or manifestation of the curriculum and the other three concepts. Ideas pertaining to the theory of climate and its measurement can provide a greater understanding of the medical curriculum. The learning environment is an important determinant of behaviour. Environment is perceived by students and it is perceptions of environment that are related to behaviour. The environment, as perceived, may be designated as climate. It is argued that the climate is the soul and spirit of the medical school environment and curriculum. Students' experiences of the climate of their medical education environment are related to their achievements, satisfaction and success. Measures of educational climate are reviewed and climate measures for medical education are discussed. These should take account of current trends in medical education and curricula. Measures of the climate may subdivide it into different components giving, for example, a separate assessment of so-called Faculty Press, Student Press, Administration Press and Physical or Material Environmental Press. Climate measures can be used in different modes with the same stakeholders. For example, students may be asked to report, first, their perceptions of the actual environment they have experienced and, second, to report on their ideal or preferred environment. The same climate index can be used with different stakeholders giving, for example, staff and student comparisons. In addition to the educational climate of the environment that students inhabit, it is important to consider the organizational climate of the work environment that staff inhabit. This organizational climate is very significant, not only for staff, but for their students, too. The medical school is a learning organization evolving and changing in the illuminative evaluation it makes of its environment and its curriculum through the action research studies of its climate. Considerations of climate in the medical school, along the lines of continuous quality improvement and innovation, are likely to further the medical school as a learning organization with the attendant benefits. Unless medical schools become such learning organizations, their quality of health and their longevity may be threatened.
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            The Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM)--a generic instrument for measuring students' perceptions of undergraduate health professions curricula.

             Sue Roff (2005)
            Students' perceptions of their educational environment have been studied at all levels of the education system, from primary through post-secondary education. Recent imperatives towards enhanced quality assessment monitoring at a time when health professions education is increasingly committed to student-centred teaching and learning have stimulated a revival of interest in this field. This paper reports a body of research in health professions institutions around the world based on the Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM), a reliable, validated inventory that claims to be generic to undergraduate health professions education and non-culturally specific.
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              Development and validation of the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM)

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central
                1472-6920
                2012
                12 January 2012
                : 12
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, College road, Cork, Ireland
                [2 ]School of Medicine, University College Cork, College road, Cork, Ireland
                Article
                1472-6920-12-2
                10.1186/1472-6920-12-2
                3277479
                22240254
                Copyright ©2012 Hammond et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Education

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