The Importance of Measuring Clinical Evaluations

August 17, 2016 Kristen Hicks

So much of what you cover in pharmacy school can’t be properly evaluated with objective assessments. Your students don’t simply need to learn how to pick the right answer out of a list; they also need to learn communication skills and how to recognize different symptoms and side effects.

You can’t effectively test all that stuff on multiple-choice tests. OSCEs should be treated as an important component in every pharmacy education program. They provide your students with valuable experience that they won’t get from an exam or written assignment, and OSCEs give faculty an important opportunity to see how students perform in an environment similar to what they’ll experience out in the world.

You can make OSCEs more valuable for both students and faculty by implementing ExamSoft Rubrics as part of the clinical assessment process. Here’s why.

Effective Clinical Assessment Requires Fast, But Thorough, Feedback

No educator would be surprised to hear that feedback plays an important role in learning, but research has found that the influence of student feedback is even stronger if it’s received immediately after an assessment.

Rubrics makes it possible for you to grade how well your students are doing in real time and provide immediate feedback based on the criteria you’ve defined beforehand. Students get the benefit of the kind of hands-on experience that clinical evaluations provide and also learn how to improve in the moment, at the best time for it to sink in.

Pharmacy Clinicals Are Easy to Grade with Rubrics

The aforementioned ability to define grading criteria and parameters makes it that much easier to grade quickly and efficiently. Obviously, grading for subjective assessments is always more complicated than objective ones, but having notes on what to look for within your grading screen can help make the process more efficient.

In addition to making grading easier on you, it also helps ensure you can provide immediate feedback that takes into account the criteria you’ve determined is most important, and thus communicates just what the students need to hear.

Rubrics Data Combined with Objective Assessment Data Paints a Bigger Picture

Finally, ExamSoft's Rubrics links automatically with your exam software to make connecting the data easier. Just as clinical evaluations are important to ensuring that your students get a full education, objective assessments also have an important role to play.

Both objective and subjective assessments have valuable information that faculty can use to better help students. When you can see the data and insights produced by both assessments side by side, you’ll get a clearer picture of the student’s overall performance. Narrowing in on students’ particular strengths and weaknesses gives you the means to help them focus their studies and helps  make their research more efficient and effective.

You can cover a lot of what you need in your pharmacy exams, but don’t stop there. Round out the education and assessment information your students get by making OSCEs with real-time feedback part of the curriculum. Students will graduate that much more prepared for the world of pharmacy work.


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