In September, the Office of Assessment published a list of ‘Top Ten Ways that Assessment Makes Students’ Lives Better’. As a follow up to this list, and to clear some things up, below is a detailed list of examples for each of the top ten items. This will give a nice snapshot of what we were thinking when we wrote this list.
- Analysis and dissemination of student feedback to faculty and administration
Exit interviews are conducted in small focus groups of four-six graduating PharmD students and a faculty member. The faculty member asks students questions about their positive and negative experiences in the College. The primary goal is to determine what is working and what needs improvement. Data is analyzed by the Office of Assessment and provided to the Committee on Assessment and Outcomes. Special surveys such as the ‘Pharmacotherapy Seminar Surveys’ also give students the opportunity to distribute their feedback. More recently, graduate students are also completing exit interviews after they finish.
- Improvement of question quality on exams
The Office of Assessment grades many of the college’s exams using the Scantron/ParScore system. Faculty are provided information regarding the quality of the questions on exams so potential problems can be identified. This can lead to better question quality on future exams, and question banking.
- Usage of student feedback to prioritize funds for facility improvement.
The information that is obtained from exit interviews and other student surveys is used to determine what improvements could be made to College facilities. Again, feedback is provided to faculty and administration through the College’s committee structure.
- Usage of student feedback to identify potential elective offerings.
Surveys have been administered in the past to students through SurveyMonkey to determine student interest in various elective offerings. Student feedback throughout the year is considered and used for this purpose.
- Acts as a forum for certification exam review.
Periodically, NAPLEX (Pharmacy) and PANCE (Physician Assistant) review questions are posted on the College’s facebook page by the Office of Assessment. These small opportunities give students a chance to utilize social media to review for certification and enhance their knowledge.
- Identifies student preferences for social events.
Surveys are administered to students to gauge the success of events like the “Finals Breakfast” and the “End of the Year BBQ.” Student feedback and ideas are taken back to the administration to discuss how much students liked these events, and what improvements, if any can be made in future iterations.
- Identifies areas of the curriculum that need strengthening, and improve and refine the sequence.
The Office of Assessment uses student grades in courses such as Drugs and Diseases, as well as specific subdiscipline performance, to determine where the curriculum needs strengthening. College committees are provided data as requested, to be used to make changes or enhance the structure of curricula. In assessment, specific area performance within a course is looked at, as opposed to only whole course grades. The Office of Assessment also analyzes student performance on licensing exams such as the NAPLEX in order to determine where the curriculum may be lacking. The PCOA exam is a useful tool in determining where student knowledge may be strengthened.
- Improves grading accuracy on exams.
The college’s Scantron/ParScore system allows for improved grading accuracy on exams. We now have fewer miskeyed items, and a checks-and-balances system to make sure that exam keys are as accurate as possible, even after an exam has been graded.
- Evaluates new technologies available in the classroom and beyond.
The Office of Assessment continues to look for new ways technology can be utilized inside and outside the classroom.
- Provides structure for students to track achievement through professional portfolios.
Pharmacy students create electronic portfolios through the RxPortfolio system. These portfolios allow students to track their achievement and digitally house necessary materials as they progress through their educational career at St. John’s.