Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Evaluation of Student Factors Associated with Pre-NAPLEX Scores

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Evaluation of Student Factors Associated with Pre-NAPLEX Scores

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Because success on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is essential to entry of pharmacy graduates into the profession, it is useful to develop a better understanding of factors that are predictive of success on the NAPLEX. Previous studies have explored the relationships between various prepharmacy and pharmacy school factors and NAPLEX outcomes. (1-3) For example, Allen and Diaz examined associations between NAPLEX scores, prepharmacy criteria such as undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA), undergraduate math/science GPA, and having an undergraduate degree (eg, bachelor's degree), and pharmacy school criteria such as number of unsatisfactory grades (ie, "D" or "F" in the prepharmacy and PharmD program), on-time graduation, and cumulative pharmacy GPA. (1) They found that undergraduate GPA, undergraduate math-science GPA, pharmacy school GPA, on-time graduation, and number of unsatisfactory grades were significantly correlated to NAPLEX score. In regression analyses, significant predictors of better NAPLEX scores included higher pharmacy school GPA and fewer unsatisfactory grades. (1) In a similar study, McCall and colleagues assessed the relationships between NAPLEX scores and prepharmacy variables (eg, Pharmacy College Admission Test [PCAT] score, having an undergraduate degree, prepharmacy GPA based on required professional courses, among others) and found that composite PCAT score was the strongest predictor of NAPLEX score. (2) Madden et al studied the relationship between first-time NAPLEX performance and course remediation during pharmacy school and found that students who had remediation had lower first-time NAPLEX pass rates compared to students who progressed on time. (3)

None of the aforementioned studies considered the impact of NAPLEX preparatory tools on NAPLEX scores. Peak et al found that certain preparatory tools were more highly rated in utility than others. (4) For example, the Pre-NAPLEX was ranked as the most representative of the actual NAPLEX and was the fourth most useful instrument of 17 preparatory tools. (4) According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB), the objective of the Pre-NAPLEX is to provide students with exposure to a simulated "NAPLEX testing experience." (5) Use of the Pre-NAPLEX in this manner may assist colleges and schools of pharmacy in identifying students who, based on their Pre-NAPLEX performance, are in need of more intensive preparation for the NAPLEX. Schools would then have the opportunity to provide such preparation prior to graduation. Factors that negatively influence Pre-NAPLEX score may also indicate the need for greater academic intervention in students who may be at risk for poor NAPLEX performance following graduation. No studies have investigated factors that may determine Pre-NAPLEX score. The purpose of the current study was to address this gap in the literature and examine relationships among Pre-NAPLEX scores and prepharmacy, pharmacy school, and demographic variables to better understand factors that may contribute to Pre-NAPLEX performance.

METHODS

The study was based on a retrospective review of records of students at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy (UTCOP), a public institution that offers a 4-year PharmD curriculum. The UTCOP PharmD program requires that students complete 90 hours of prerequisite undergraduate coursework, with more than 45% of those hours devoted to science courses. All UTCOP students are required to participate in didactic coursework for their first 5 semesters, while the final 3 semesters are devoted to experiential learning. UTCOP has adopted an integrated examination model, in which content from multiple courses is included in a single exam. Students undergo this computer-based testing every 2 weeks throughout the semester. Such an approach increases student familiarity with this particular testing format and provides a foundation for students as they prepare for the computer-based NAPLEX. …

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