Author Archives: Carla Hernandez

Examsoft User Development Initiative

As Examsoft use has continued to expand each semester at the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, the Office of Assessment launched the Examsoft User Development Initiative (ESUDI) during the Summer of 2016 based upon a recommendation from Dean Digate. The goal of the ESUDI is to provide hands-on faculty training workshops, as well as, other resources to ensure all users (new and returning) within the College are confident in Examsoft use. We aim to provide basic tutorials on how to use the Examsoft Portal and in-depth discussions with faculty (of all disciplines) on how they can utilize the reporting features to better track student learning outcomes and further engage their students throughout the semester.

The first ESUDI session was held June 28th, 2016. The session was well received and the Office of Assessment followed this up with a second summer session on August 18th, 2016. We will continue offering monthly workshops discussing different topics during the Fall 2016 semester available to all Examsoft Faculty users in the College. Future topics to be discussed will include Examsoft’s Reporting Tools; SofTest: The Student’s Perspective; Strategies for Team Taught Courses; Tracking Student Performance & Learning Outcomes via Categories; and many more workshop tailored to faculty’s needs here at the College.

The Office of Assessment will also be utilizing Blackboard tools to provide faculty with other interactive resources. Further communication will be provided once ready for faculty use.

Examsoft faculty users can expect their invitations to the Fall 2016 workshops shortly with specific time/location information. We hope to see you all there!

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Fall 2016 PA Assessment Workshop

The Office of Assessment (OA) presented its Assessment Workshop at the Physician Assistant’s Didactic Orientation on August 30th, 2016 where Dr. S. William Zito, Dean of Assessment, discussed the importance of Assessment at the College. The OA administered a Pre-Assessment Workshop survey to the incoming didactic students one week prior to the Assessment Workshop (receiving a 64% response rate) and its results were then shared with students.  Following the Assessment Workshop, a Post-Assessment Workshop Survey was sent out. After being open 5 days, the survey closed with a 35% response rate.  In summary, results of both surveys show that after the Assessment Workshop:

  • Students’ awareness of the assessment process in the College more than doubled from 41% to 92%
  • A higher percentage of students are willing to participate in assessment
  • 88% of students now know what the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) assessment plan is (compared to 28% in the Pre-Workshop Survey)
  • Almost 100% of respondents now know that the CPHS has an Assessment Office and a separate Assessment Committee
  • 92% of respondents agree that students are involved in improving the culture of assessment, compared to 54% in the Pre-Workshop survey

The Office of Assessment will continue promoting the Culture of Assessment by continuing to participate in future student orientations and in any other opportunities to share the importance of Assessment.

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UPDATE: SofTest Version 12 Rollback

Although all of us in the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences looked forward to utilizing the new features of SofTest Version 12, the Office of Assessment was notified by Examsoft that all clients must temporarily rollback from SofTest Version 12 (v12) to SofTest Version 11 (v11) while continued improvements are made to the v12 platform. All faculty and student Examsoft users must use SofTest v11 until otherwise instructed to update. The College has been using SofTest v11 since rolling out Examsoft in early 2015, so there will be little to no impact on the student experience this Fall 2016 semester.

If needed, please click here for the links to reinstall SofTest v11 and to access Examsoft’s FAQ section regarding their decision to rollback. Examsoft’s Tech Support can also assist with the installation process at 1-888-792-3926.

If faculty have any questions on Softest v11 use, please reach out to us at the Office of Assessment. We expect an update from Examsoft on SofTest v12’s re-release in the near future and look forward to utilizing this newest version once it is ready.

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Fall 2016: SofTest Version 12

Examsoft announced its first official, non-beta release of SofTest Version 12 (v12) this past month. All St. John’s University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Examsoft student users can expect to use this new version during the fall 2016 semester. SofTest v12 will be available for installation August 8th. As a student, if you are unsure whether your course will be utilizing Softest, please contact your instructor for confirmation. Resources on SofTest v12 use are now available at the Examsoft University site (click here to view). The minimum system requirements to use Softest v12 are listed here.

SofTest v12 contains a variety of improvements. Its interface has been updated with a simpler, more modern layout. Windows and Mac machines’ have a more consistent layout and each includes improved word-processor options for essay questions.  Based on student feedback, Examsoft is offering more features during exam administrations and exam reviews. Exam reviews will now allow exam takers to review their notes (written during the exam) at the time of the review. Exam Takers can also view which text was highlighted and which questions they flagged (during the exam’s administration) at the time of the review. The ability to cross out answer choices, highlight in different colors, and view Quick References Guides directly from the SofTest application is another improvement. Other features in SofTest v12, such as zooming in/out on a question stem, suspending an exam, or use of a download password will be released by the end of 2016.

Exam Takers within the St. John’s University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences will receive communication from the Office of Assessment’s Ms. Carla Hernandez in early August with instructions on how to install SofTest v12 and other pertinent information for its use in the upcoming fall semester. SofTest version 11 will no longer be supported as of September 8th, 2016 and exam takers will be expected to uninstall the application from their machines.

Following the release of SofTest v12, Examsoft also anticipates an update to the Examsoft Online Portal in 2017. Faculty and administrators will be alerted once more information is available.


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Examsoft: Strength & Opportunity Reports

Compared to traditional paper testing, Examsoft offers an engaging resource for faculty to share assessment information with students following exams. Feedback received from students via the Examsoft Experience Survey (disseminated by the Office of Assessment) after the Fall 2015 semester demonstrated that 78% of respondents from the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences were interested in receiving more individualized reports on their performance. Use of the Strength & Opportunity Report can impact student learning as it provides exam takers with a visual aid to identify areas of strength and areas of concern following an assessment.  Reviewing the Strength & Opportunity Report can help a student prioritize studying as they can gauge their performance broken down by category.                EXAMSOFT_S+O_Report

Faculty in the College has the option to share the Strength & Opportunity Report with every student in the course by posting it directly to their Examsoft Portals after each assessment. Others have also used it during one-on-one student meetings to offer other strategies for improvement. Resources, such as the Strength & Opportunity Report, are encouraged as it enhances student engagement and can help meet the ultimate goal of improving student performance.

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Continued Examsoft Rollout for Fall ‘15 Courses

Following the initial roll out of Examsoft earlier this year, the computer-based testing platform has been implemented in the Fall 2015 semester for third year Radiologic Sciences courses, Physician Assistants’ incoming didactic courses, and select PharmD program courses. SofTest exam administration is still being utilized in PA clinical year coursework. Based on feedback from the pilot period’s cohort, the Office of Assessment provided student training sessions for the didactic PA students and incoming professional Radiologic Sciences students during their respective program orientations. A separate training opportunity was offered to students of the two PHR 4109 sections utilizing SofTest. Mock exam(s) were administered to familiarize students with SofTest’s interface, testing protocol, and to identify any machines/technical issues which may be preventable in future testing environments. Softest exam administrations are already underway for the Fall 2015 semester and its focus remains on faculty training and student engagement.

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Fall 2015 Assessment Workshop

Assessment FlyerAs the Fall semester begins, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, its program leaders, faculty, and administrators aim to provide students with the information and resources needed to succeed. On August 31st, 2015, the incoming Fall 2015 didactic cohort of Physician Assistant (PA) students joined Dr. S. William Zito and the Office of Assessment for its annual Assessment Workshop led by Dr. Marc Gillespie.

Prior to the workshop, this cohort of students was invited to participate in a survey regarding their experience and knowledge of assessment. The Pre-Assessment Workshop Survey received a 46% response rate and based on a summary of responses, it was evident students were seeking more information on assessment. Following the workshop, the Post-Assessment Survey was administered and received a 58% response rate. 

Some highlights of the survey include that 94% of students are now aware of the assessment process in the college in comparison to 37% before our workshop.


84% of students are now willing to participate in assessment as compared to only 66% of respondents beforehand.

willing to participate

Now, 96% of students either strongly agree or agree that they are involved in improving the culture of assessment in comparison to 28% before the workshop.


A majority of respondents now know that the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has an Assessment Committee and an Office of Assessment. Previously, less than 30% were aware of their roles. 89% are now in agreement that the results of assessment initiatives are used effectively.

Results of the Post-Assessment Workshop Survey demonstrate students’ interest and willingness to participate in the College’s assessment process, as well as, the effectiveness of the Assessment Workshop. The Assessment Team encourages all students to share their feedback by electing to participate in any survey invitations they may receive. We look forward to next year’s PA Assessment Workshop and hope to hear from all students throughout the year.

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