We have previously defined a set of 62 attributes - 12 in the area of professional characteristics, 28 addressing knowledge and understanding, and 22 delineating skills - that veterinary students should be expected to have demonstrated by the time of their graduation (Walsh DA, Osburn BI, Christopher MM. Defining the attributes expected of graduating veterinary medical students. J Am Vet Med Assoc 219:1358-1365, 2001). We have used this set of attributes as the basis of an outcomes assessment completed by California practitioners to determine whether graduates from the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine are meeting these expectations. Based upon this assessment, these 62 defined attributes appear to reflect very well practicing veterinarians' views and expectations of DVM graduates. The survey results also indicate that, overall, the recent University of California graduates are meeting these set of expectations. Simultaneously, the outcomes assessment focused attention on several areas, including private practice management, work expectations for successful practice, and surgical capabilities. For each, California practitioners recommended that the definition of the expectation be expanded and that the level of achievement by graduates be improved. Defining a set of attributes expected of veterinary graduates is a key step in obtaining an effective outcomes assessment of a professional educational program.
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