Development of an assessment tool for the quality of veterinary education, using alumni as source of information
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Veterinary education is a lifelong process. To ensure its quality, the curriculum needs to be assessed to make sure it adequately prepares students for the veterinary profession. Studies of alumni's retrospective views on their training, i.e. from the users' perspective, are a valuable tool in outcomes assessment (as part of quality assurance). These outcomes assessments are also needed for accreditation. A literature review was conducted on alumni outcomes. Most publications were on medical education, although veterinary medicine and dentistry were also addressed. Most researchers used questionnaires, based on competences, as a quantitative survey tool. Focus groups and one-to-one interviews can be used to gather more indepth information. To ensure success of quality assurance, evaluation activities should be carried out systematically and structurally, integrated in an organisation's regular work patterns. Many researchers gathered valuable information on the quality of education making use of (a combination of) questionnaires and focus groups. Some researchers involved not only alumni, but also their employers in the survey. Especially this triangulation seems to be highly effective in assessing the quality of education. Alumni assessment also has downsides though, such as lack of comparison to other educational programmes, details of the programme can be forgotten about, and self-evaluation is prone to be biased.