Application of the Introductory Molecular and Cellular Biology Assessment to Health Professional Students

Amy J Prunuske, Courtney Hunter, Katie Nemeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Educators have predominantly used concept inventories to monitor undergraduate students’ learning, but there is opportunity for the application of these inventories to health professional students. We administered the Introductory Molecular and Cellular Biology Assessment (IMCA) to incoming medical and pharmacy students to test their understanding of important biology competencies. Health professional students held naïve preconceptions on topics related to thermodynamics and chromosome dynamics during cell division. There was no relationship between performance on the assessment and number of math and science courses completed prior to enrolling in professional school. The students’ score on the IMCA correlated positively with scores from either the MCAT or the PCAT. In addition, female students with comparable undergraduate GPAs to the male students tended to perform less well on the concept inventory. There was a positive relationship between performance on the IMCA and performance in first semester professional school courses. Health professional educators should consider using concept inventories to help tailor and assess instruction of health professional students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Courtney Hunter received a fellowship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Minnesota. Katie Nemeth was an IRACDA fellow (NIH Grant K12 GM074628) and was supported by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Campus. Amy Prunuske received start-up funds from the University of Minnesota Medical School. We wish to thank Paul Reneilli in the school of pharmacy and Andrew Skildum in the school of medicine for supporting the use of these assessments in the curriculum.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, International Association of Medical Science Educators.


  • Concept Inventory
  • IMCA
  • MCAT
  • Medical students
  • Misconceptions
  • PCAT
  • Pharmacy students
  • Preconceptions


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