CURRICULUM EVALUATION Using National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission Standards and Criteria

Article excerpt

Key Words Curriculum Evaluation - NLNAC Standards - Nursing Program - Three Cs Model

CU RRIC ULAR EVAL UATIO N is an integral co mponent of nursi ng pr ogr am evaluation and pro v id e s a rigorou s and systematic mecha nism for a ssu ring integr ity and strengthen - ing acad emi c p rogram s. Ten year s ago , fa culty in the Department of Nursing at St. Catherine University in Minnesota approved a shared vision statement, mission statement, philosophy, and departmental evaluation plan. Each of these scholarly works furthered collaboration among faculty and the integration of four nursing programs into a single department that offers associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral programs.

The departmental systematic evaluation plan, co nsistent with the L-E-A-D-E-R commitments enum erated in the philosophy, is bas ed on the standards a nd criteria fo r nursing progr a ms require d by t he N a tional Leag ue f o r Nu rs ing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC, 2012). A cur riculum b lue - p rint with six in teg rat ing con cepts - C o ntext and E nvironment, K now ledge a nd Sci e nce, Persona l and Professional Developme nt, Quality and Safety , Relatio nship - Cen tered Care, and Teamwor k - infus es the c ommitments of the philosophy into the nur sing curricula (National League for Nursing [NLN], 2010). The curriculum design evolves th rough this o rganizing framework in to a logical progression of course outcomes and learning activities to achieve desired st udent learning and program ou t comes specified for each nursing program. Curricular evaluation initiatives are also implemented to assess achievement of these outcome s.

This art icle describes the devel op ment and implemen tation of an i nnovative curricul ar e valua tio n design u sing the Standards and Criteria specified in the NLNAC Accreditation Manua l (re vised in 2012). This holistic approach, first used in Janu ary 2006 to evaluate the post-baccalaureate program of stu dy, provid ed a more compr ehe nsive per spective compare d to the trad iti o nal e v a lu a tion m e th o d. Cu r rentl y , t hi s approac h, u sing t he NLN AC Standards an d Criteria, is u se d to evaluate all sec t ions and concentrations offere d in the four nurs i ng prog rams.

E v a lu a t i on Sch e ma All courses in the nursin g depa rtment are evaluated each term following delivery, and summary reports are sent to the program director. Faculty teaching teams routinely examine: a) course objectives and the link to curricular threads, b) course content, c) schedule, d) teaching-learning strategies, e) evaluation of student performance, f) textbooks and other library holdings, g) student evaluation of the course, and h) validation of Department of Education requirements (i.e., credit hours) and the university's liberal arts goals and requirements (writing and technology).

In the past, the nursing program's Committee on Curriculum also conducted a more comprehensive, biennial evaluation of courses. Additional components were reviewed, such as: a) how a course built on previous prerequisite and nursing courses, b) congruence between course objectives and curricular threads, c) strategies to create a learning-centered community, d) formal and informal evaluation methods, e) strengths and limitations of the course, and f) suggested modifications in the course. Typically, all fall semester course offerings were evaluated by the Committee on Curriculum in one academic year with all winter/spring course offerings evaluated the next academic year. However, this pattern of course review was disjointed and did not allow for a more longitudinal perspective of course offerings within program sections or concentrations, nor did it provide meaningful information to faculty and administrators.

Context, Content, and Conduct Kalb (2009) reported on the department's Three Cs Model, a conceptual framework that denotes the dynamic relationship of curricular context, content, and conduct. …