American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2018, 6(8), 1229-1232
DOI: 10.12691/education-6-8-23
Open AccessOpinion Paper

Are Some Very Capable Students Being Denied Their Dream by the Change from a Traditional to an Integrated Curriculum?

Roger J. Bick1,

1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UT McGovern Medical School, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

Pub. Date: August 24, 2018

Cite this paper:
Roger J. Bick. Are Some Very Capable Students Being Denied Their Dream by the Change from a Traditional to an Integrated Curriculum?. American Journal of Educational Research. 2018; 6(8):1229-1232. doi: 10.12691/education-6-8-23


The ‘new’ curriculum for medical students inserts basic sciences into case based scenarios in the early years of study, giving them a rapid introduction to the realities of many things they will face upon encountering patients and entering clinics and hospitals. The curriculum also has a large percentage of small group problem based learning (PBL) and team based learning (TBL) hours, with the idea that students are encouraged to undertake self-study and self-directed learning prior to using gained knowledge in discussions, presented cases and clinical problems. This method fosters self-discipline and leads to better teamwork and discussions among groups, with students intensely investigating studies, data and reports to formulate their input. To this extent, the new curriculum is less regimented, and not a data-in, data-out type of teaching in which a lecture, and maybe a lab, gives the students the topics of need-to-know and lessens the requirement for self-study and self-critiquing, which doesn’t promote investigation, diversity of study methods and the ability to learn from self-taught ideals that are then incorporated into their studies. The idea is for students to be more capable of initiating their own interests and be more self-reliant and able, rather than simply taking a fact from a lecture and rewriting it as an answer on an exam. This UCSF link gives a good synopsis; Overall the revamped curriculum has been a success at many medical schools, usually after a development period of three years or so. Students tend to like it, embrace the changes and appreciate the less rigorous demands together with a pass/fail grading system. However, there are problems, as some students obviously struggle with self-study, and longitudinal grading and assessment. It is obvious that some are much more comfortable with the lecture-lab-exam format and we must entertain the fact that maybe good students and future good doctors are being lost due to their study method preferences.

medical school curriculum self-study self-directed learning USMLE learning outcomes case-based traditional

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