A pre- and post-test assessment of concept learning in research design

Jill M. Augustine, Marion Slack, Terri L. Warholak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess concept learning and topic difficulty in a concept-based research methods course. Methods: A pre-post exam was given to second professional year Doctor of Pharmacy students enrolled at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy using 25 concept-based multiple choice questions. Rasch analysis was used to determine the change in student ability and to assess question difficulty. Results: A total of 94 students completed both pre- and post-tests (response rate = 96.9%). As a group, student ability significantly increased from the pre- to post-test (p < 0.001). Of these, 30 students showed a significant increase in ability (p < 0.05). Ten questions showed a significant change in difficulty level. Conclusions: Students learned the material over the semester as indicated by the overall increase in student ability. Changes in question difficulty provide evidence for the importance of practice when learning concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-737
Number of pages9
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Concept theory
  • Course design
  • Multiple choice examination
  • Student learning
  • Test assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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