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ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 166-178

The Development of an Instrument for Assessing Community-Based Education of Undergraduate Students of Community and Health Sciences at the University of the Western Cape


Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Ratie Mpofu
Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


Context: In Community-Based Education (CBE) students are expected to develop problem solving, communication and critical thinking capabilities. Assessment provides an opportunity for students to improve these skills, it helps them to gain increased motivation, high achievement, it reduces anxiety over grading, and it improves communication between learners and teachers. The aim of this study was to develop a common instrument for assessing undergraduate students of Health Sciences in their placements for CBE. Objectives: (1) Identify the skill requirements of students in CBE; (2) Develop a common instrument for assessing undergraduate students in Health Sciences. Methods: The study was based in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences at the University of the Western Cape. Existing documents relevant to the assessment of CBE were collected and analyzed to provide background information. Focus group discussions were held with lecturers from various departments, key persons from the departments and students were audiotaped and later the data analyzed into emerging themes. This was followed with a workshop by relevant experts in CBE, to identify the essential items to be included in the proposed assessment tool. The instrument was piloted with two departments in various community settings. Results: The participants identified knowledge, transferable skills, professionalism and attitudes as important elements for assessment. The instrument piloted was very comprehensive and suitable for use by students of any profession in a range of communities. Conclusion: It is recommended that the instrument can be used to assess students in any learning experience based in a community setting.


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