Online assessments in pharmaceutical calculations for enhancing feedback and practice opportunities Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 Elsevier Inc.. Objectives: The objectives of the study were to evaluate the effectiveness of, and student preference for, an online approach to carrying out the formative assessments of a first-year pharmaceutical calculations course. Traditionally, these assessments were completed as in-class paper-pencil Scantron quizzes. After the change, they were completed online as homework assignments with detailed feedback and ample opportunities for repeated practice once the assignments were graded. Methods: Classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014 students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy completed these formative assessments online using WebCT or Blackboard. Individualized question sets were randomly constructed from a question pool containing multiple-choice questions and presented as online homework. The effectiveness of this approach was measured by comparing the overall course grades of these classes with the Classes of 2010 and 2011, who completed the paper-pencil Scantron quizzes. Student preference for the online approach was assessed by a survey. Results: The course grades of Classes of 2012 and 2013 were significantly greater than those of Class of 2010. The differences in grades between the other classes were not significant. More than 90% of students favored the online approach and provided valuable comments about the benefits of detailed feedback and repeated practice. Conclusions: Students preferred the online homework assignments. The online approach maintained or improved the student grade. Once the question pool is developed, instructors can provide detailed feedback to students very efficiently. Formative assessments for pharmaceutical calculations can be done online more conveniently than the traditional paper-pencil approach.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Nutan, M., & Demps, E. L.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Nutan, Mohammad TH||Demps, Elaine L

publication date

  • January 2014