Factors Influencing Seminar Learning and Academic Achievement

Annemarie Spruijt*, Jimmie Leppink, Ineke Wolfhagen, Harold Bok, Tim Mainhard, Albert Scherpbier, Peter van Beukelen, Debbie Jaarsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Many veterinary curricula use seminars, interactive educational group formats in which some 25 students discuss questions and issues relating to course themes. To get indications on how to optimize the seminar learning process for students, we aimed to investigate relationships between factors that seem to be important for the seminar learning process, and to determine how these seminar factors account for differences in students' achievement scores. A 57-item seminar evaluation (USEME) questionnaire was administered to students right after they attended a seminar. In total, 80 seminars distributed over years 1, 2, and 3 of an undergraduate veterinary medicine curriculum were sampled and 988 questionnaires were handed in. Principal factor analysis (PFA) was conducted on 410 questionnaires to examine which items could be grouped together as indicators of the same factor, and to determine correlations between the derived factors. Multilevel regression analysis was performed to explore the effects of these seminar factors and students' prior achievement scores on students' achievement scores. Within the questionnaire, four factors were identified that influence the seminar learning process: teacher performance, seminar content, student preparation, and opportunities for interaction within seminars. Strong correlations were found between teacher performance, seminar content, and group interaction. Prior achievement scores and, to a much lesser extent, the seminar factor group interaction appeared to account for differences in students' achievement scores. The factors resulting from the present study and their relation to the method of assessment should be examined further, for example, in an experimental setup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • academic achievement
  • group interaction
  • interactive learning
  • multilevel analysis
  • small group learning
  • student preparation
  • teaching performance

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