Self-assessment in graduate public health programs: characteristics and constraints

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the characteristics and constraints of internal appraisals or self-assessments in Graduate Public Health Programs, conducted through a study of the report on 25 programs participating in the three-year CAPES evaluation (2001-2003). Three main aspects were considered: (a) tools and/or procedures employed; (b) self-assessment procedures; (c) products for upgrading program quality. The findings indicate that different tools are employed and used improperly. For most of the programs, it is not clear how ongoing processes take place, as the products presented are not directly related to the process as performed and the program quality assurance procedures. The importance of self-assessment is discussed as a tool for exploring the possibilities and boundaries of a process or an institution, as well as for taking decisions. A suggestion is presented: setting up a basic structure with working groups and a self-assessment coordination team; real participation and commitment among staff members and decision-makers; reliable data with effective use of the findings.

Higher education; Graduate public health programs; Self-assessment

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