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Grayson Mendenhall
June 20, 2017

Three questions the School asks when assessing the effectiveness of the PY1 capstone at measuring students' readiness to move on.
Three questions the School asks when assessing the effectiveness of the PY1 capstone at measuring students’ readiness to move on.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is the recipient of a 2017 Award for Excellence in Assessment from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The School’s entry, “Developing an Innovative, Comprehensive First-1 Year Capstone to Assess and Improve Student Learning and Curriculum Effectiveness,” was authored by Adam Persky, Ph.D.; Jessica Greene, Pharm.D.; Tom Angelo, Ed.D.; Heidi Anksorus, Pharm.D.; Kathryn Fuller, Pharm.D.; and Jacqueline “Jacqui” McLaughlin, Ph.D.

The team described the School’s design of a multiday capstone assessment created to examine first-year Doctor of Pharmacy students’ knowledge of course content, ability to find and apply information and interpersonal skills, including teamwork and adaptability. Capstone experiences are scheduled for the end of the first and third years in the School’s curriculum and are designed to integrate material learned up to that point and to assess the students’ abilities.

The capstone consisted of four parts:

  1. Knowledge was assessed using a closed-book 130-item multiple-choice test.
  2. Finding and applying information was assessed using a 45-question open-book test.
  3. Interpersonal skills were assessed with a specially designed multiple-mini interview.
  4. Finally, a debriefing session provided feedback on capstone performance and the bridge between the first year the students had just completed and the two month’s experiential immersion they were about to begin.

The School concluded that the capstone was able to successfully assess student knowledge and skill and provide students with feedback about areas on which to focus during the immersion experience. The School will continue to work to make sure the process is transparent, effective, and sustainable.

“The capstone helps ensure that students are ready to progress in the curriculum and to the pharmacy practice experiences,” said Pamela Joyner, Ed.D., associate dean for professional education at the School. “This is particularly important as we implement our new curriculum and strive to foster a culture of continuous quality improvement.”

The AACP Award for Excellence in Assessment recognizes outstanding Doctor of Pharmacy assessment programs for their progress in developing and applying evidence of outcomes as part of the ongoing evaluation and improvement of pharmacy professional education. Recipients of this award present their work during a special session at the AACP Annual Meeting in July of each year. Up to three awards are given, and each winning school is provided a stipend to cover the costs of registration, travel and accommodations to attend the Annual Meeting.

The other pharmacy school receiving assessment awards were Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the University of Pittsburgh.

Persky is an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics. Greene is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics. Angelo is a clinical professor in PACE and director of educator development. Anksorus is a clinical assistant professor in PACE. Fuller is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. McLaughlin is an assistant professor in PACE and director of the School Office of Strategic Planning and Assessment.

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