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Logo of bmcmeduBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Education
BMC Med Educ. 2009; 9: 18.
Published online 2009 April 28. doi:  10.1186/1472-6920-9-18
PMCID: PMC2680845

Contextual adaptation of the Personnel Evaluation Standards for assessing faculty evaluation systems in developing countries: the case of Iran



Faculty evaluations can identify needs to be addressed in effective development programs. Generic evaluation models exist, but these require adaptation to a particular context of interest. We report on one approach to such adaptation in the context of medical education in Iran, which is integrated into the delivery and management of healthcare services nationwide.


Using a triangulation design, interviews with senior faculty leaders were conducted to identify relevant areas for faculty evaluation. We then adapted the published checklist of the Personnel Evaluation Standards to fit the Iranian medical universities' context by considering faculty members' diverse roles. Then the adapted instrument was administered to faculty at twelve medical schools in Iran.


The interviews revealed poor linkages between existing forms of development and evaluation, imbalance between the faculty work components and evaluated areas, inappropriate feedback and use of information in decision making. The principles of Personnel Evaluation Standards addressed almost all of these concerns and were used to assess the existing faculty evaluation system and also adapted to evaluate the core faculty roles. The survey response rate was 74%. Responses showed that the four principles in all faculty members' roles were met occasionally to frequently. Evaluation of teaching and research had the highest mean scores, while clinical and healthcare services, institutional administration, and self-development had the lowest mean scores. There were statistically significant differences between small medium and large medical schools (p < 0.000).


The adapted Personnel Evaluation Standards appears to be valid and applicable for monitoring and continuous improvement of a faculty evaluation system in the context of medical universities in Iran. The approach developed here provides a more balanced assessment of multiple faculty roles, including educational, clinical and healthcare services. In order to address identified deficiencies, the evaluation system should recognize, document, and uniformly reward those activities that are vital to the academic mission. Inclusion of personal developmental concerns in the evaluation discussion is essential for evaluation systems.

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