Development of interpersonal communication skills among pharmacy students: evaluation of an assessment rubric

Kairuz, T., and Bond, J.A. (2013) Development of interpersonal communication skills among pharmacy students: evaluation of an assessment rubric. Focus on Health Professional Education, 15 (2). pp. 17-29.

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Background: The ability to communicate effectively is a required competency of registered pharmacists in Australia, as it underpins optimization of health outcomes from medicines. As such, assessment of communication skills is a core component of undergraduate curricula. It was hypothesised that holistic criterion-referenced assessment instruments would better support the development of interactive interpersonal skills by undergraduate pharmacy students compared with a reductionist dichotomous checklist tool that had previously been employed.

Aim: To facilitate interpersonal communication skills development among pharmacy students using criterion-referenced marking rubrics as the learning intervention.

Method: Holistic marking rubrics, using criteria evaluating content, process, delivery and style against developmental standards of performance, were implemented during the second semester of the third-year undergraduate program in 2011. The intervention was evaluated by exploring student perceptions and comparing grades with a previous (2009) student cohort which had been assessed using the checklist.

Results: The intervention assessment instrument was more discriminating in identifying differences in student performance than the previous checklist method. Most students (73%) viewed the marking rubrics as a potential framework for developing their communication skills.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that the method of assessment in oral examinations is a driver for strategic learning. Therefore, rubrics with criteria specifically addressing skills (process, delivery and style) in addition to knowledge (content), and categorising performance according to developmental levels, may promote more interactive verbal communication by students in a range of undergraduate health profession programs.

Item ID: 37748
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-1100
Keywords: educational assessment, teaching methods, pharmacy, communication, health occupations, oral examinations
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2015 03:53
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences > 111503 Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 100%
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