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Patterns in Swedish pharmacy students' performance and attitudes towards their education

Journal article
Authors Patrik Aronsson
Ann Zetterqvist
Dan Baeckström
Published in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Volume 11
Issue 5
Pages 433-449
ISSN 1877-1297
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 433-449
Language en
Keywords Interviews, Pharmacy, Statistical analysis, Study achievement, Workload
Subject categories Learning, Pedagogical Work, Other pharmacy


Introduction: For some time, our faculty have expressed concerns regarding an apparent decrease in pharmacy students' academic productivity and performance. This study aimed to elucidate present conditions and suggest suitable interventions to improve the pharmacy program. Methods: Student cohorts starting the pharmacy program from 2009 to 2014 were followed with respect to performance in two courses (earlier and later). The students were segmented by entry qualifications, age, gender, etc. Eight students were further interviewed about their attitudes regarding their education. Results and conclusions: Achievement in the earlier course fell sharply over time, despite basically unchanged entry grade levels, increasing the workload for both teachers and students. This decrease was greater for male students. In the later course, the overall achievement level was higher, possibly due to less successful students dropping out. Subgrouping of students revealed differences in study achievement depending on age, gender, study program entrance qualifications, and admission “ranking”. In the interviews, students frequently stressed that connections to their future profession should be clearer and appear earlier in the program. Furthermore, students claimed that lectures with many attendees prevent peer learning and suggested that smaller groups be formed to foster cooperation and unity within the program. Remaining within their original cohort was viewed as very important by most students.

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