August 2011: QEP Goals and Outcomes

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is designed to improve the critical thinking skills of students across the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC). Formulating goals and learning outcomes are essential elements in the development of the QEP, and the goals and outcomes in this article reflect our current appraisal of the situation.

The topic of our QEP is CARE – Critically Appraise Relevant Evidence. Through CARE, our students will learn to apply evidence-based decision making and critical thinking skills in their chosen field. The following goals and outcomes are the overarching goals and outcomes that apply to all TAMHSC components.  Each component will write specific student learning outcomes that apply to their courses and programs.

As the QEP is developed over the next few months, these goals and outcomes will be used as the basis for curriculum development and implementation plans.  Circulating the information at this time has two benefits. It gives the entire health science center community the opportunity to view the QEP Planning Committee’s current thinking on this important matter, and it opens a forum for comment and discussion of this topic.

As you read these goals and learning objectives, several relevant issues should come to mind:

  • What aspects of critical thinking and evidence-based decision making would you like to learn more about?
  • In what ways will we address these goals and outcomes in our curricula?
  • What are the most effective ways to teach these concepts to our students and to assess their learning?


Goal 1.  Develop students’ skills in critical thinking.

Students will be able to apply critical thinking skills of:
•    Analysis and Interpretation
•    Inference
•    Evaluation and Explanation
•    Deductive Reasoning
•    Inductive Reasoning

Goal 2.  Develop students’ skills in evidence-based decision making.

Students will be able to apply evidence-based decision making skills of:
•    Asking Focused Questions
•    Systematic Retrieval of Evidence
•    Critical Appraisal of Evidence
•    Application of Results to Practice
•    Evaluating Performance
•    Assessing or Designing Research

Goal 3.  Develop capacity and resources to teach critical thinking and evidence-based decision making.

Faculty members will be trained to:
•    Assess critical thinking and evidence-based decision making skills
•    Identify appropriate teaching resources for didactic and clinical environments
•    Design instruction to enhance critical thinking and evidence-based decision making skills
•    Model the use of critical thinking and evidence-based decision making skills

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