Exploring Students' Perceptions of the Educational Environment in a Caribbean Veterinary School: A Cross-Sectional Study.
AbstractEducational environment has a significant impact on students' learning and academic achievement. The aim of this study was to explore the perception of veterinary school students' regarding their educational environment at the University of the West Indies. In this cross-sectional study, the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) was administered to veterinary undergraduate students from year 2 to year 5. The DREEM questionnaire consists of 50 items with five subscales: students' perceptions of learning, students' perceptions of teachers, students' academic self-perceptions, students' perceptions of atmosphere, and students' social self-perceptions. Each item was scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree (0) to strongly agree (4). The Cronbach's alpha for the overall DREEM score was 0.92, and for the five subscales, it ranged from 0.66 to 0.83. A total of 99 students responded (response rate: 86%). The students' overall DREEM mean score was 106.59 out of the global mean score of 200, indicating that students' perception of the educational environment was generally more positive than negative. In the five DREEM subscales, students were found to have a more positive perception of learning (55.15%); students' perception of teachers was generally positive (61.41%); and their perception of academic atmosphere was also positive (57.75%). Conversely, students' academic self-perception (51.41%) and social self-perception (42.61%) trended negatively. The findings suggest that improvement is needed in significant areas in the veterinary school, including curriculum review, faculty development, provision of sports and cultural facilities, stress management, and academic support systems.