The program is a medical professional orientation program offered by the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC). It is intended for middle school students enrolled in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and lasts for six days (NSLC, 2021). The used location is Crystal Gateway Marriott in Washington, D.C. As per the sample schedule, the program consists of group meals, leadership development sessions, and participation in interactive workshops and clinical simulations (NSLC, 2021). The topics of simulation activities are patient history collection, vital sign assessments, dissection techniques, suturing, intubation/cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and possible careers in the healthcare field (NSLC, 2021). As a group, participants will also have a few field trips and visit local museums, institutions, and tourist attractions. The program is advertised as a skill development opportunity for students interested in medicine, and evaluating it from a customer-oriented perspective may be critical.
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Program Evaluation Approach and Rationale for Choice
The program assessment model that seems the most applicable to the abovementioned program is the consumer-oriented approach. The goal of the evaluation endeavors will be to assess the value of the advertised program to middle school students and the services’ safety and appropriateness for the age group. The key reason why the selected approach is applicable is the nature of the target audience in this case. As the term suggests, in consumer-oriented evaluations, the key audience is “the purchasing or interested public” that is not directly known to those evaluating the program (Fitzpatrick et al., 2011, p. 144). The lack of the consumer’s input into the development of product evaluation criteria is cited as an inevitable shortcoming of the consumer-oriented approach (Gallant & Luthy, 2020). Because of the absence of information on specific potential consumers, the other types of evaluation would be challenging to implement.
Aside from being a commercial product, the chosen program incorporates services from different categories, such as education, hotel residency/catering services, and entertainment events. Consumer-based evaluations offer more methodological flexibility as they may involve both relatively simple product reviews and multi-stage experiments in which consumers’ reactions to products are carefully documented and analyzed (Sabr, 2020). In contrast, expertise-oriented evaluations would require hiring subject matter experts for each field, which could involve unreasonably high financial and time expenditures for the assessment of a short-term program.
Intended Audience and Impacts on Approach Selection
Not much is known about the specific characteristics of the audience that would be interested in getting acquainted with the evaluation’s results. This audience is comprised of U.S. citizens in Washington, D.C., or adjacent geographic areas. These individuals have middle-school-age children or relatives interested in early professional orientation and the medical field. Regarding the NSLC’s offering, specific individuals that are planning to enroll in this summer program are unknown, so the evaluator will not know prospective consumers interested in the results in person. Finally, as explained above, the absence of any definitive information about the consumers acts as a critical factor in approach selection.
Questions to Be Included in the Evaluation
The evaluation should involve questions that the target audience would be likely to ask to decide between the Middle School Medicine and Healthcare Program and similar offers from other educational institutions. Depending on the situation, consumer-oriented evaluations can be based on the sets of criteria derived from actual consumer surveys or assumptions about the target population’s evaluation criteria (Fitzpatrick et al., 2011). The organization claims that it has been providing summer programs for many years, so researching previous consumers’ satisfaction with services might be possible. If there is no opportunity to contact any customers, assumptions will be useful.
The questions to be included in the checklist would provide a general assessment of the program’s affordability and inclusivity. It is because consumer satisfaction is known to be predicted by socioeconomic and health-related variables (Wahba et al., 2017). The questions, therefore, would be focused on tuition fees ($2,495) and how they compare to the average monthly income in the U.S. and other short-term summer enrichment programs in the state. Also, the offer will be examined with reference to terms of service for students with physical disabilities or health conditions that might create the need for medication use or specific assistance. For instance, the presence of an individual in charge of managing the group’s medical concerns will be reflected in the checklist. Another accessibility-related question deals with the quality of the accepting venue’s catering services. Particularly, whether suitable breakfast and dinner options for vegetarians, diabetic patients, or those with lactose intolerance are present is critical.
To continue, answers relating to the effectiveness and safety of planned clinical demonstrations, workshops, and field trips would also support prospective customers’ decision-making. Workshops devoted to dissection and wound suturing skills will involve the risks of medical device-related injuries, so protective measures and accident prevention steps should be evaluated as well (NSLC, 2021). When it comes to the organization of field trips, questions concerning the presence of guides and chaperones, field trip behavior rules, and emergency prevention policies are critical. Finally, for the educational effectiveness aspect, the presence of post-program knowledge assessment tools or assessment data from previous clients should be examined.
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The account of the diverse student population
The evaluation takes account of diverse students and the input they provide from diverse communities. As the audience of the evaluation is currently unknown, the result of the diversity of the students’ group could later be used as an indicator of the overall interest of the target audience in the early professional orientation in the medical field. As the program targets an audience of middle school-age children, the diversity of the students does not matter that much but could be used as an indicator for other programs. As pointed by Clar et al. (2018), promoting future careers and health professionals to the young audience would not give instant results, and it is not possible to surely evaluate student’s future decisions. However, it is a known fact that high school graduates frequently choose to pursue professions addressed by the needs of the community (Clar et al., 2018). Emphasizing the health issues and needs of different communities to the diverse students could provoke future interest and determination in choosing a future career for the middle school students. Diverse students could add valuable input by giving a unique perspective from the community and their regards on the concept of healthcare and medical professions.
The results of the evaluation and its’ presentation to stakeholders
In order to make the presentation of the results accurate, balanced, and fair, the results of the evaluation will be presented to the stakeholders in the form of interim reports and final reports. The interim reports could be scheduled at milestones of evaluations and provide detailed information on significant events of the program. The use of scheduled interim reports could also be a chance for the stakeholders to provide input to the evaluations by giving a reaction or providing valuable advice for the program. The final reports portion would feature a detailed analysis of the evaluation and only focus on major points while also giving a brief summary of past events. This combination of interim reports with the final report would make the stakeholders more familiar with the evaluation of the program and raise stakeholders’ interest in the theme (Fitzpatrick et al., 2011). The final written report would provide a summary of the evaluation procedures and present an interpretation of evaluation findings. Lastly, the report would provide recommendations such as criteria and standards used to judge evaluation objects, analysis of evaluation objects’ strengths and weaknesses, and give final recommendations based on the collected data.
In conclusion, the program is a skill-developing opportunity for middle-school students interested in the medical profession. The consumer-oriented approach is the assessment model most suited for the program and its’ goals. The audience is specific individuals that are planning to enroll in this summer program. Although the detailed information on the audience and its diversity are missing, the absence of information could be used as a critical factor in approach selection. The diversity of the student population would account positively for the program in terms of providing various perspectives in the program. The results of the evaluation would be presented to the stakeholders in a combination of interim reports and final reports. The use of an interim report would provide a chance for the stakeholders to add their reaction to the main events of the program and give valuable critique or advice. The final written report would provide a detailed analysis of the evaluation, define the program’s strengths and weaknesses, and give recommendations based on the collected data.
Clar, M., Drouin, Éric, & Iverson, S. (2018). Dare to Dream: Promoting Indigenous Children’s Interest in Health Professions through Book Collections. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 39(2), 28–55. Web.
Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2011). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (4th ed.). Pearson.
Gallant, D. J., & Luthy, N. (2020). Mixed methods research in designing an instrument for consumer-oriented evaluation. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, 16(34), 21-43. Web.
National Student Leadership Conference. (2021). Middle school: Medicine & health care. American University. Web.
Sabr, Y. (2020). Consumer-oriented evaluation of the clinical service provided in diabetic health education: A prospective observational study. Medical Science, 24(105), 3623-3638. Web.
Wahba, M., El-Bourgy, M., Abdel-Gawwad, E., Abdel-Kader, H., & Abou-Zeid, A. (2017). Consumer-oriented evaluation of the service provided by the Department of Health Education and Information in Alexandria, Egypt. Journal of Egyptian Public Health Association, 92(2), 116-127. Web.