The Relationship Between Prior Experiences in Mathematics, Confidence in Mathematical Ability, and Pharmacy School Success
Objectives: Objectives of this study were to assess students’ pre-pharmacy math experiences, confidence in math ability, and the relationship between experiences, confidence, and grades in math-based pharmacy courses.
Method: A cross-sectional survey of P1-P3 PharmD students was conducted. Students reported type of pre-pharmacy math courses taken, when they were taken (high school (HS) vs. college) and year of HS and college graduation. Students rated their confidence in math ability using the previously validated 11-item Fogerty Math Confidence Scale (Cronbach alpha=0.92). Math grade point average (GPA), Pharmacy College Admission Test quantitative (PCAT quant) scores, and grades (calculations and kinetics) were obtained from transcripts and school records. Spearman correlation and multivariate linear regression were used to compare math experiences, confidence, and grades.
Results: Students (n=198, 85% response rate) reported 7.1 years since HS graduation and 2.9 years since their last schooling prior to pharmacy school. Students with more time since HS / last schooling had lower calculations and kinetics grades (p-values<.02). Students reporting more HS math courses had better calculations grades (ρ=.290, P<0.001). Additionally, students with higher Math GPA, and PCAT quant scores also had higher calculations and kinetics grades (p-values<.01). Greater confidence in math ability was associated with higher calculations grades (ρ=.259, P<0.001). In multivariate regressions, PCAT quant scores independently predicted calculations and kinetics grades after controlling for confidence, years since HS, and total HS math courses taken.
Implications: The number of pre-pharmacy math courses and time elapsed since they were taken are important factors to consider related to success in math-based pharmacy school courses.
Conn, Kelly; Birnie, Christine R.; McCaffrey, David; and Brown, Jack (2017). "The Relationship Between Prior Experiences in Mathematics, Confidence in Mathematical Ability, and Pharmacy School Success." American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 81.5, Article S5-.
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