Objective: To estimate the difference between students' expected and actual perceptions about their educational environment.
Method: A prospective study was conducted in the College of Dentistry, University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia involving first year dental students of the academic year 2013-14. The students were asked to fill out two versions of the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM), one in the beginning (expected DREEM) and the other at the end (actual DREEM) of their academic session. The sum of students' responses (scored on a Likert scale ranging from 0 to 4) and a mean with standard deviation was calculated for every question. Then a mean for each of the five subscales of the expected and actual DREEM, and an overall score for the two versions of DREEM were estimated.
Results: Fifty five students (response rate: 72%) including 25 males (45%) and 30 females (55%) filled out the DREEM questionnaire on both occasions. The total scores for the expected and actual DREEM questionnaires were 114.47 and 105.5 respectively, the difference between the two scores being statistically insignificant at P<0.05. There was no statistically significant difference between male and female students' perceptions in any of the five subscales of the expected and actual DREEM questionnaires.
Conclusion: The overall results of the study illustrated a healthy educational environment in the College of Dentistry, University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Some problems areas were, however, identified that need to be addressed in future to further improve the quality of learning environment in the college.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN