Granular Analysis of a Course-Level Curriculum Map for an Introductory Pharmacy Course – A Pilot Study

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Objectives: To retrospectively analyze a course level map for a first year pharmacy course at a granular level to assess student learning against course learning outcomes. Method: The Assessment Committee developed a Course-Level Map template to align course learning outcomes, ACPE standards, program learning outcomes, teaching activities, assessment activities, student performance, and actions taken based on performance. ‘Principles of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ was chosen as a pilot for the effective use of the template. 187 test items were used to assess student learning. Each question from all the exams was electronically coded to learning outcomes. Assessment results for each item were mapped to corresponding course learning outcomes. Underperforming items (Results: The coverage for each learning outcome was found to be optimal i.e. the questions were uniformly distributed across the learning outcomes. The underperforming items ranged from 0 to 37% for each learning outcome. Overall, ~20% of items were found to have underperformed. The main cause of underperformance was found to be the structuring of the questions, requiring rewording. Other causes included difficulty in students’ understanding of concepts due to either insufficient emphasis or time-spent on the topic. Implications: The detailed analysis of the course map provided a deeper understanding of student-learning of the course as well as clear action-steps to be taken to improve student performance in future. The need for peer-review of test items was indicated.


Presented at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas, in July 2014. Abstract published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2014; 78 (5) Article 111:

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