Assessing the utility of pre-course assessment and voluntary pre-work in two required integrated pharmacotherapy courses

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Background and purpose: Self-assessment and self-learning are essential skills for student pharmacists. Data demonstrating the association between these skills in pharmacy courses are limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of providing pre-course review and administering a pre-course assessment on performance in two required integrated pharmacotherapy (IP) courses - IP: Pulmonology and IP: Cardiology. Educational activity and setting: This study included second-year student pharmacists enrolled in fall semester IP: Pulmonology and IP: Cardiology from 2019 to 2021. Voluntary pre-course review materials and pre-course assessments were added in fall 2021. Overall course grades and examination scores between each year were analyzed. Student perceptions of the pre-course assessment were also captured. Findings: Of the 454 students analyzed, there was no difference in median overall IP: Pulmonology grades (85.93%, 86.67%, 86.29%; P = .63) or IP: Cardiology grades (80.25%, 78.3%, 79.96%; P = .41) for 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. IP: Pulmonology Exam 1 scores were statistically higher in 2021. For IP: Cardiology, Exam 1 and Final Exam scores were statistically higher in 2020 compared to 2019 and Exam 3 scores were significantly higher in 2021 than 2019. Pre-course assessment scores had a statistically significant, positive association with overall course grade. Half of the students surveyed agreed that completing the course prep work was an effective approach to learning. Although overall course grades did not differ between years, pre-course assessment scores correlated with overall course grade. Thus, voluntary pre-course assessments could provide early identification of poor performance.

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