Evidence-Based Decision-Making: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes in Public Health Education Programs

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The assessment of student learning has been defined as the "systematic collection of information about learning, using the time, knowledge, expertise, and resources available, in order to inform decisions about how to improve learning." (Walvood, 2004) In its revision of accreditation criteria in 2005, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) transitioned from student learning objectives to competencies, which reflected a shift in focus to competency-based education, an Evidence-Based Decision-Making (EBDM) model focused on what students need to know and are able to perform in a variety of complex, dynamic situations. In programs, schools, and colleges of public health, these competencies take the form of a set of focused outcomes linked to workforce needs in the five core areas of the curriculum and, based on a mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities, are critical for a student's future success in the field. Given the revised set of criteria, a newly-established College of Public Health in the southeastern United States developed an integrated, computer-aided EBDM paradigm, consistent with its mission, goals, and objectives. This rubric was designed to close the loop between theory and practice, while establishing evidence-based decision-making as a key component of the College's academic culture from its inception. This session will describe the model, and present data collected from the first semester during which the process was operative, including: characteristics of MPH graduates; program goals and outcomes; core competencies; course objectives and student learning outcomes; data that assess student outcomes; preceptor evaluations; and suggestions for program improvement.


American Public Health Association Annual Conference (APHA)


Washington, DC