ExamSoft Supports Intentional and Informed Decision-Making

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The goal of any school or program is to prioritize student performance above all else. This is particularly true for programs in healthcare fields, which are tasked with preparing students to make important, sometimes life-or-death, decisions about people’s health.

What prioritized student performance looks like in practice varies based on a wide variety of factors — things like field of study, student body makeup, region, and so on. One thing that holds true for every modern program is that, in today’s digital age, all decisions should be made intentionally and informed by data.

As a global leader in student assessment, ExamSoft is uniquely positioned to support institutions in building assessment programs that generate the type of valuable data that they need to make intentional and informed decisions about their programs. We’ve been working with programs in health fields to do exactly that for years — here are a few examples of programs working with ExamSoft to leverage data for intentional and informed decision-making.

Sullivan University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

The Sullivan University College of Pharmacy & Health Services, located at the school’s Louisville, Kentucky, campus, hosts a number of programs, including their Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.

The PharmD program, an accelerated three-year program, was inaugurated in 2008. By 2014, the school had determined that their current examination and assessment practices — paper-based and bubble-sheet assignments to all students across all courses — were neither sustainable nor effective. 

The school’s Information and Technology Advancement Committee (ITAC) chose to work with ExamSoft for a few reasons, primarily for the computer-based and offline testing capabilities. Meanwhile, the Office of Academic Affairs and Assessment (OAcA) saw the software’s potential for data collection and reporting. 

The program piloted ExamSoft in a handful of classes, with instructors of varying levels of tech proficiency. There were two primary goals in adopting the assessment platform. The first was to reveal student performance trends, both individually and across the program. The second was to evaluate content coverage at both the course and program levels.

The pilot saw such great results that they rolled it out to the full program after only a few quarters. Other programs at the school, like the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) program, would go on to adopt it. Today, the school uses category tagging to generate a number of programmatic reports, which they use to improve student success, retention rates, and remediation approaches.

William Carey University School of Pharmacy

Dr. Dave Weldon joined William Carey University as Associate Dean of Pharmacy and Assessment in 2017, tasked with building an accelerated PharmD program for the new School of Pharmacy.

One of the primary goals of the program was to secure accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as quickly as possible. Among other things, accreditation requires a program to help students achieve certain competencies. To track progress against the program’s targeted educational outcomes, Weldon turned to ExamSoft.

With a thorough assessment plan in place and Candidate Status from the ACPE, the William Carey University School of Pharmacy inaugurated its first class in 2018. Their assessment plan went into action, with faculty category-tagging their exams to generate valuable performance reports. Analyzing these reports semester after semester, Weldon and his faculty brought student competency in-line with their educational outcome goals and secured Full Accreditation Status from the ACPE after only three years.

University of Toledo College of Nursing

The University of Toledo College of Nursing offers several programs, such as the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing and more flexible options, like the RB-BSN and their Graduate-Entry Master’s (GEM), which helps students with BNs in different fields the opportunity to pursue a nursing career.

Students from all of these programs must pass the NCLEX exam before they can begin practicing. Previously, the school used an LMS-based testing tool to prepare their students. However, when the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) was announced, the school learned that the LMS solution would no longer be sufficient.

After searching for new solutions, the school found NurseThink. NurseThink was founded by Dr. Tim Bristol, and includes Clinical Judgment Exams (CJE), powered by ExamSoft — it combines exam content and practice questions from NurseThink with ExamSoft’s powerful category reporting feature.

With CJE, using ExamSoft’s category tagging capabilities, the College of Nursing was able to provide students with two key things: Strengths & Opportunities (S&O) Reports, which in turn improved the programs’ NCLEX performance; and valuable insight into clinical judgment criteria, which will be key for the NGN exam.

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

At the University of the Pacific, the six programs that make up the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry have undergone a number of curricular reforms over the past decade. The school had been working on aligning its curriculum with its “Head, Heart, Hands” teaching philosophy, built around innovative competency-based approach to humanistic client care.

They started by identifying content areas to focus on and then moved on to developing a process, using ExamSoft guidelines, for item tagging. These tagging efforts were used to generate both S&O and Longitudinal reports.

S&O reports, filterable by category, show faculty and students where they can improve their performance. In 2018, the school surveyed students about their digital assessment practices and found that 85% of respondents found S&O reports helpful for guiding their study. Longitudinal reports are helpful, for staff and students alike, for evaluating performance over longer periods of time.

Make Informed Decisions with ExamSoft

As an educator, you want nothing more than to see your students succeed. It is difficult to do that with just good intentions, however. You need to ensure that your program is working for your students. That requires making good, sound, intentional, well-informed curricular decisions, and you can use your assessment data to get there.

Contact us to learn more about using ExamSoft for objectives-centered assessment.

Published: December 20, 2022

Updated: July 18, 2023

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