A five-year evaluation of examination structure in a cardiovascular pharmacotherapy course

Anne Schullo-Feulner, Claire Kolar, Kristin K. Janke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the composition and effectiveness as an assessment tool of a criterion-referenced examination comprised of clinical cases tied to practice decisions, to examine the effect of varying audience response system (ARS) questions on student examination preparation, and to articulate guidelines for structuring examinations to maximize evaluation of student learning. Design. Multiple-choice items developed over 5 years were evaluated using Bloom’s Taxonomy classification, point biserial correlation, itemdifficulty, and grade distribution. In addition, examination items were classified into categories based on similarity to items used in ARS preparation. Assessment. As the number of items directly tied to clinical practice rose, Bloom’s Taxonomy level and item difficulty also rose. In examination years where Bloom’s levels were high but preparation was minimal, average grade distribution was lower compared with years in which student preparation was higher. Conclusion. Criterion-referenced examinations can benefit from systematic evaluation of their composition and effectiveness as assessment tools. Calculated design and delivery of classroom preparation is an asset in improving examination performance on rigorous, practice-relevant examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. All rights reserved.


  • ARS
  • Assessment
  • Case-based learning
  • Examinations
  • Multiple-choice questions


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