Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Performance-Based Assessments Within a Competency-Driven Curriculum

Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Performance-Based Assessments Within a Competency-Driven Curriculum

Channing R. Ford (Jacksonville State University, USA) and Erika L. Kleppinger (Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5092-2.ch009
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Abstract

This case explores the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of performance-based assessments (PBAs) utilized within a competency-based curriculum at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy (AU HSOP). Comprised of over 270 practice-based competencies, the newly adopted curriculum was designed to equip graduates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential for a practicing pharmacist. Early in the curriculum development process, hands-on authentic assessment practices were identified as a key assessment strategy resulting in the integration of PBAs throughout the curriculum. This case will describe the PBA development process adopted by AU HSOP, including specific implementation considerations, and explore the role of PBAs in assessing student progression.
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Organization Background

Established in 1885, the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy (AU HSOP) offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree in addition to Masters and PhDs in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Students entering into the PharmD program complete four years of study, three years of didactic coursework with the final year being comprised of experiential clinical rotations. In addition to Auburn and Mobile, Alabama, students may complete their clinical rotations in areas near Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, or Tuscaloosa, as well as near Columbus, Georgia. PharmD students entering AU HSOP are predominately from in-state (~77%), white (~77%), and female (~65%). On average 50%-60% have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment. Class cohorts average 150 students across two campuses, Auburn and Mobile, with 125 completing course work in Auburn, and 25 in Mobile. The Mobile site was established in 2006 and is housed on the University of South Alabama’s campus. As a result of the dual campuses, the integration of video conferencing has been essential to allow for synchronous learning and for student interactions across campuses.

AU HSOP is comprised of three academic departments (Pharmacy Practice, Health Outcomes Research and Policy, and Drug Discovery and Development), and four administrative divisions (Academic Programs, Clinical Affairs and Outreach, Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, and Research). This organizational framework encourages collaborations across the departments as faculty are immersed not only in their academic department but also within the administrative divisions which include representation from all departments within the school.

With an administrative reorganization in 2019, the establishment of multiple director roles were implemented, providing oversite of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program to the Director of Professional Programs. The Director of Professional Programs works closely with all faculty within the new practice-ready curriculum (PRC), while also directing the first-semester of the PharmD curriculum. During this transition, the Dean also named three faculty from the Pharmacy Practice Department to serve as the Skills Lab Coordinator for each program year to collaborate with faculty to develop, implement, and evaluate skills-based activities and performance-based assessments (PBAs). A Director of Assessment was also named and works with faculty across all academic years for all assessments including PBAs. The Skills Lab Coordinators and Director of Assessment work closely together to promote consistency between the classroom and skills lab activities, and the development of the PBAs.

In fall of 2017, AU HSOP implemented the new competency-driven PRC, steeped in positive pedagogical teaching and learning approaches that immerse students in authentic learning experiences including aspects of active and team-based learning. With the release of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accreditation standards in 2016 (ACPE, 2015), AU HSOP established a curricular team to initiate the transition from the legacy curriculum to the practice-ready curriculum. This curricular team represented a cross-section of faculty representatives in addition to experts in curricular development and academic assessment. The team was tasked with developing and implementing the new curriculum with several members serving as the Learning Community (LC) Chairs (i.e. instructors of record responsible for collaborating with members of the teaching teams) for the first academic year. The collaborative nature of the development process influenced the overall curricular design, resulting in course units taught by teams of faculty, eliminating silos. Teaching teams are comprised of faculty experts from multiple academic departments and are responsible for the development and delivery of assigned content areas. The LC Chair collaborates with all teaching teams within their assigned academic semester, providing feedback on content and assessment development.

The PRC strives to prepare student pharmacists for entry into the pharmacy profession by instilling the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for practice while shaping the students’ professional identity by providing them with experiences that will shape their overall attitudes regarding the profession, the patients they serve, and the healthcare team. To accomplish this feat, AU HSOP recognized that innovative teaching, learning, and assessment practices would be crucial to prepare graduates for entry into practice. This case will explore the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of performance-based assessments utilized throughout this practice-ready curriculum, and the role of PBAs to assess student progression.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE): A form of performance-based assessment used to measure clinical competence. Introduced initially as an assessment method in medical education, an OSCE is a series of stations designed to evaluate clinical skills correlated to various disease states, often interacting with standardized persons in a variety of healthcare settings.

Learning Community: A team of faculty tasked with developing, implementing, and evaluating content and assessments within an academic semester.

Staging: The process of arranging the space for a testing experience, to include the set-up of technology components, drug products, physical props, and furniture placement.

Rubric: An assessment tool for grading performance-based activities that includes performance levels, specific criteria, and criteria descriptions. Written feedback can also be included to support the overall performance level selected.

Standardized Person (SP): An individual hired to play the role of a patient/caregiver/healthcare provider within a structured scenario. SPs may also serve in a grading capacity utilizing a provided checklist or rubric to evaluate student performance.

WebEHR: A web-based electronic health record for storage and management of patient health information, also utilized for simulated patient health information for educational purposes.

Performance-Based Assessment (PBA): An assessment that evaluates learners on their ability to complete a clinical skill or series of skills, interact with a simulated patient/caregiver/healthcare provider, or demonstrate technical skills (i.e. sterile and non-sterile compounding).

Interactive Scenario: A performance-based assessment station that requires the student to engage with a standardized person to complete the task.

Analytical Checklist: A comprehensive list of items specific to a performance-based assessment scenario that students must complete to successfully achieve the outlined clinical skill or task. This is graded as achieved or not achieved for each item.

Non-Interactive Scenario: A performance-based assessment station that does not require the student to engage with a standardized person to complete the task.

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