Impact of an electronic-based assessment on student pharmacist performance in a required therapeutics course

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Introduction: The use of technology in the classroom has continued to grow, and with the advancement of classroom management systems and online exam software, there are opportunities to administer exams electronically. This study assessed the impact of electronic-based assessments on examination scores in a required therapeutics course. Methods: This was a retrospective, single-centered, observational study including second professional year pharmacy students enrolled in a required, one semester therapeutics course. Four assessments were administered each semester. Lecture content and exam format, a mixture of multiple-choice questions and free response written cases, did not differ significantly between years. Assessments administered during the first two years were printed on paper, while assessments administered during the third and fourth year of the study were all electronic, submitted through a classroom management system. Following institutional review board approval, the change in mean overall examination scores between paper and electronic-based assessments were analyzed. Results: Of the 948 students enrolled in this study, there was no difference in overall mean scores between paper and electronic-based assessments (74.8% vs. 73.8%). In addition, there was no difference in mean examination scores between overall individual paper and electronic Exam 1 through 4 or overall multiple-choice or free response scores between paper and electronic-based assessments. Conclusions: Scores did not differ between paper and electronic-based assessments. From this study, test method does not appear to impact exam results.

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