Student Perceptions of the Utility of the Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment

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Introduction: This study assessed student perceptions, preparation, and result use strategies of the Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment (PCOA). Secondarily, it studied the effect of schools/colleges of pharmacy (S/COP) PCOA management on student perceptions. Methods: A 52-item electronic questionnaire assessed PCOA preparation of final year students, review/use of results, remediation participation, self-reported motivation, and perceptions of the exam's ability to measure PCOA blueprint areas and North American Pharmacy Licensure Examination (NAPLEX)/advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) readiness. Programs were given a questionnaire to determine their PCOA practices. Results: The student survey was completed by 341 students (40% response rate). Students prepared very little for the PCOA and few reported participation in PCOA-based remediation (6%). Students perceived the PCOA to measure the four domains moderately well, although administrative sciences were significantly lower. Students reported less confidence in the exam's ability to measure APPE/NAPLEX-readiness. Although few used the PCOA to guide their NAPLEX preparation (18%), they were more likely to do so than for APPEs (4%). Students reported a higher perceived increase in motivation if PCOA results were connected to APPE placement, remediation, and progression as opposed to prizes, rewards, or other recognitions. Conclusion: This is the first multi-institutional study to review student perceptions about the PCOA. These data can be used along with other PCOA data to help schools develop incentive, remediation, and examination administration procedures depending on the programs desired use for the PCOA exam.