A curriculum renewal of the third-year psychiatry clerkship rotation at University of Toronto Medical School resulted in a shift from case-based, small-group teaching at multiple teaching sites to the delivery of core material in a larger-group format. The authors examine the effects of this change in curriculum delivery.
Student examination performance and student evaluations of the clerkship rotation and teaching were compared for the years before and after adoption of the updated, larger-group format curriculum.
Student examination performance was unchanged, comparing those who participated in small-group seminars versus those receiving larger-group core teaching. Student evaluations of the curriculum as a whole and of the core teaching were also unchanged, other than more negative evaluation of the course organization in the year immediately after implementation of the new curriculum.
Delivering core curriculum in larger- versus smaller-group format did not have any discernible effect on student psychiatry clerkship performance, and overall student assessment of the rotation remained largely positive. The involvement of highly-rated teachers and the higher number of uninterrupted clinical days may balance out with the trend for students to generally prefer small-group to larger-group learning. Ongoing evaluation and refinement of the psychiatry clerkship experience and core curriculum will be crucial to continued assurance of a high-quality learning experience for our medical students.