Quality Improvement Measures to Increase Licensing Exam Pass Rates

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Poster Presentation

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Objectives: The New York State Part III Exam is one of three pharmacy licensing exams required in the state of New York. This high stakes exam is a rigorous assessment of drug knowledge, clinical practice and hands-on compounding skills. The passing rates often deviate significantly from those of NAPLEX or MJPE. In response, our program implemented multiple interventions to better prepare students. The objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of these quality improvement measures.

Method: Over a five year period, targeted improvements were made to the curriculum, review course and faculty support for students planning to take the Part III Exam. A Part III committee was created to include both science and clinical faculty. A staff position was added to increase expertise in sterile compounding. The compounding curriculum was re-structured, and a focused review course was offered including a mock exam. To adjust for variation, pass rates were compared to the state average.

Results:School pass rates for the NY Part III Exam continued to increase throughout the five year period. The pass rates for first time test takers for the 2010 June exam were 1% above the state average, increasing to 8% in 2011, 10% in 2012, 16% in 2013, 18% in 2014 and 18% in 2015.

Implications: With continuous data driven quality improvement, increases in pass rates for licensing exams can be achieved. Similar efforts focused on NAPLEX and MJPE content have the potential to also improve pass rates in those exams.




Presented at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) annual meeting in Anaheim, California, in July 2016. Abstract published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2016; 80 (5) Article S2: https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe805S2.

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