An analysis of long-term outcomes of the impact of curriculum: A comparison of the three-and four-year medical school curricula

Jocelyn M. Lockyer, Claudio Violato, Bruce J. Wright, Herta M. Fidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the long-term effects of curriculum length on physician competence, the authors compared the performance of graduates from the University of Calgary (U of C; a school with a three-year curriculum) with matched samples from the University of Alberta (U of A) and from other Canadian schools with a four-year curriculum. Method: The authors used data from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Physician Achievement Review (PAR) program to determine curricular outcomes. The authors analyzed PAR program data, comprising reviews from medical colleagues, nonphysician coworkers (e.g., nurses, pharmacists), patients, and the physicians themselves, for 166 physicians from U of C, U of A, and other universities. They compared groups using one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), with years since graduation as a covariate, and a Cohen d effect size calculation to assess the magnitude of the differences. Results: The authors analyzed review data for 498 physicians. The Results of ANCOVA showed that no significant differences existed among schools for the self and the patient aggregate mean questionnaire scores. Aggregate mean questionnaire scores from the medical colleague and coworker surveys were significant, albeit with a small effect size. MANCOVA showed small but significant differences among schools on the aggregate mean factor scores for medical colleague, coworker, and patient questionnaires. Conclusions: Although differences among schools exist, they are small. They suggest at least equivalent performance for graduates of three- and four-year medical schools who practice in Alberta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1347
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009

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