Heightened focus on the quality of teaching in medical schools has led to increased use of student surveys as a means of evaluating teaching. In some institutions, however, the summative purpose is emphasized over the developmental or self-improvement objective. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of a student evaluation of teaching questionnaire for use in administrative decision making (summative purpose) and in identification of faculty whose instruction needs improvement (formative purpose). Results of this analysis are discussed in addition to related issues regarding faculty development and the importance of adopting multiple methods of evaluating and documenting teaching and other educational activity.
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