Developing an assessment process for a master's of science degree in a pharmaceutical sciences program

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Date of Publication


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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Buies Creek, NC


Objective. To develop a program-level assessment process for a master’s of science degree in a pharmaceutical sciences (MSPS) program. Design. Program-level goals were created and mapped to course learning objectives. Embedded assessment tools were created by each course director and used to gather information related to programlevel goals. Initial assessment iterations involved a subset of offered courses, and course directors met with the department assessment committee to review the quality of the assessment tools as well as the data collected with them. Insights from these discussions were used to improve the process. When all courses were used for collecting program-level assessment data, a modified system of guided reflection was used to reduce demands on committee members. Assessment. The first two iterations of collecting program-level assessment revealed problems with both the assessment tools and the program goals themselves. Course directors were inconsistent in the Bloom’s Taxonomy level at which they assessed student achievement of program goals. Moreover, inappropriate mapping of program goals to course learning objectives were identified. These issues led to unreliable measures of how well students were doing with regard to program-level goals. Peer discussions between course directors and the assessment committee led to modification of program goals as well as improved assessment data collection tools. Conclusion. By starting with a subset of courses and using course-embedded assessment tools, a program-level assessment process was created with little difficulty. Involving all faculty members and avoiding comparisons between courses made obtaining faculty buy-in easier. Peer discussion often resulted in consensus on how to improve assessment tools. Keywords: program assessment, graduate education, pharmaceutical sciences.



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