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Arch Hellen Med, 27(3), May-June 2010, 509-521


The Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) in Greek:
How it should be used, and preliminary experience in the Greek medical educational environment

University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Ioannina, Greece

OBJECTIVE The educational environment makes an important contribution to student learning. The Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) questionnaire which is an instrument for assessing this, has been translated into Greek; the Greek validation study has been reported elsewhere. The objectives of this study were to explain how DREEM works and to report preliminary findings from its use in the Greek medical educational environment.

METHOD The Greek version of DREEM was administered to undergraduate students from six of the seven Greek medical schools; 487 questionnaires were completed, which were representative of the Greek medical student population according to gender, but not according to year of study: (1st=3, 2nd=56, 3rd=302, 4th=62, 5th=38, 6th=19) or school (Athens=10, Thrace=93, Thessaloniki=127, Ioannina=102, Thessaly=112, Crete=47). Question, subscale and overall scores were calculated and standardized on a 0-100% scale, interpreted as follows: 0-25%=very negative environment, >25-40%=negative, >40-50%=fairly negative, >50-60%=fairly positive, >60-75%=positive, >75-100%=very positive environment.

RESULTS The overall score was 54%, "learning" 47%, "teachers" 58%, "academic" 52%, "atmosphere" 57%, "social" 56%, with no gender or year of study difference, but, with the exception of social life, there were differences according to school; excluding Athens, Thrace was rated higher, Thessaloniki lower. Key weaknesses perceived were: "No support for stressed students" (25%), "boring classes" (29%), "stress outweighing enjoyment" (37%), "overemphasis on factual learning" (38%), "no constructive criticism" (43%), "cheating" (44%), and "poor development of problem solving skills" (46%). Favourable aspects revealed by students were: "Pleasant accommodation" (84%), "good friends" (78%), "good social life" (76%), "knowledgeable teachers" (69%), "relaxed atmosphere" (63-70%), "not being disappointed with the experience" (68%), and "relevance to their career" (63%).

CONCLUSIONS The DREEM overall and subscale (except for learning) scores reveal student perceived environment/climate in Greek medical schools just above the negative-positive ambivalence, with social "extracurricular" aspects well developed but many core features being particularly weak. These findings call for urgent close examination, further research and evidence-based intervention on the part of the medical schools. Annual systematic assessment would offer the school governing bodies, but also the students, society and government, the means of evaluating the school profile, time-trends and effectiveness/efficacy of remedial actions.

Key words: DREEM, Educational environment/climate, Greece, Medical students, School evaluation/assessment, Translation, Undergraduate education.

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