Threaded Introductory Chemistry for Prepharmacy: A Model for Preprofessional Curriculum Redesign

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Journal of Chemical Education


Introductory chemistry courses are required as part of the undergraduate preparation necessary for entry into an array of professional programs. Given the varied priorities of the student population in these courses, it can be difficult to present the material such that students see their individual future academic priorities represented in each course. At St. Louis College of Pharmacy, introductory chemistry classes serve a singular population with a declared interest in pursuing further education in the professional pharmacy curriculum. As part of a campus-wide prepharmacy curriculum restructure, the chemistry curriculum was redesigned to take advantage of this focused audience. The result is a new, four semester Threaded Curriculum that merges topics taught in general and organic chemistry with filtering for relevance to prepharmacy. To compare student performance in the new curriculum to the traditional, students were evaluated on 245 common multiple choice exam items as the relevant topics were covered in each course of the curriculum. Initially, traditional curriculum students outperformed the Threaded Curriculum students in first semester organic topics, but both groups scored the same average on the ACS Organic Chemistry End of Year exam. This occurred even though Threaded Curriculum students had only three semesters of chemistry preparation at the time of the exam. Furthermore, Threaded Curriculum students surpassed the national average on the ACS General Chemistry End of Year exam at the fourth semester. This indicates that students can be taught chemistry by providing more relevant topics for their future while still ensuring that students are meeting content goals reflected in standardized chemistry exams.

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