How do we teach metacognition?

scott's thoughts Jul 26, 2022

We have discussed previously the usefulness of metacognition in graduate-level teaching and learning. By practicing metacognition, we become aware of the amazing amount of work our minds do. We then use our particular skills to successfully employ high-level learning when we can and seek assistance or innovation when we cannot.

To introduce metacognition to students we employ three critical steps:

  • We show students that their ability to learn is mutable;
  • We teach planning and goal-setting; and
  • We give students ample opportunities to practice monitoring their own learning and adapting that practice as necessary.

We introduce these three steps, then reinforce them to students repeatedly over the course of their Pharmacy education through the Student Success Coaching Model through:

The Student Success Model incorporates three basic methods of facilitating metacognition:

  1. Robust study skills taught at the beginning of the program and sprinkled throughout. One of the...
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The Five Major Challenges of ARC-PA 5th Edition Standards

scott's thoughts Jul 19, 2022

These are exciting times, and PA education is rapidly changing and pivoting. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ARC-PA’s 5th Edition Standards, which set the expectations for PA programs and the requirements for their operation. Understanding and complying with these Standards can make the difference between a successful commission action and an adverse decision leading to probation for the program.

We developed the following chart from information gathered from the ARC-PA commission’s website. In reviewing it, we can see that in the years from 2015 through 2020, citations have dramatically increased under the C-Standards, particularly Standards C1.01 (The program must implement an ongoing program self-assessment process that is designed to document program effectiveness and foster program improvement); and C2.01 (The program must prepare a Self-Study Report as part of the application for continuing accreditation that accurately and succinctly documents the...

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Advanced Assessment Methods for Your PA Program's Data

scott's thoughts Jul 12, 2022

I am pleased that you are joining me in this new segment of my series, in which I’ll be guiding you through some advanced assessment methods for your PA program’s data.

The situation at hand is this: PA programs must implement a comprehensive assessment process to ensure compliance with 5th Edition Standards and ensure annual completion of all components of Appendix 14. In our “5th Edition Standards” blog series and webinar, we carefully unpack the various sections of Appendix 14 for you to better understand what the commission wants and how you can manage the intimidating amount of data you are required to collect to respond to their requirements.

Data collection is usually considered a chore. Teaching responsibilities, scholarship, and service already stretch faculty thin. I have been in PA education for 32 years and I know what it is like to have teaching responsibilities among others, and then you have assessment on top of it all. Finding time for...

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Advanced Assessment Methods: Additional Ways to Look at Data

scott's thoughts Jul 05, 2022

As I continue this blog series on advanced assessment methods for your PA program’s data, I have been emphasizing different ways we can look at sets of data so that we can extrapolate correlations from them. In today’s blog, I will share two more assessments I find valuable: stratification and the heat map. The beauty of these processes is that – assuming there is reliable data within - they are extremely easy to read and understand. 

Let us look at the application for these.  

Stratification allows us to differentiate several levels of scoring across a data set. Below, we have the stratification of a program’s previous two cohorts when it came to their PANCE score ranges. Green obviously is good; red is not good. There were eight failures. We can see that PACKRAT I, Summ I, Summ II, and Packrat II, EORE and EOCE test scores across the board are worse for those students who failed. But those twenty-three students that were strong, over 500,...

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Advanced Assessment Methods and the Intersection of Variables

scott's thoughts Jun 28, 2022

Thank you for joining me once more for my current blog series regarding advanced assessment methods for the data gathered by your PA program. One of our main purposes behind conducting the advanced assessment is to fulfill the requests of the ARC-PA commission as you are completing your SSR. The Commission desires that you show the linkage between your appendix sections. Doing so demonstrates your understanding of the complexity of a PA program and how all the factors interrelate.

I will give examples here using spider diagrams, a straightforward way of visualizing how many factors relate to one key process. This is similar in theory to the cause-and-effect mapping that I discussed in my previous blog. In that scenario, we attempted to trace a problem back to its root cause. You may use an illustration such as the one below in conjunction with cause-and-effect mapping, for example, to determine which variables to include on a cause-and-effect map. But knowing interrelationships is...

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Advanced Assessment Methods: Analyzing Cause and Effect

scott's thoughts Jun 21, 2022

Thank you for joining me once more as I continue my blog series on advanced assessment methods for the data collected by your PA program. Today we will begin seeing the practical applications of advanced assessment, starting with the basics: cause and effect.

When your PA program fails to meet a benchmark, the natural response is to question why. Where did we go wrong? What must change? What must improve? But until we find the root cause of the problem – in fact, if there even is a root cause – devising a solution will be equivalent to throwing darts at a board. Your solution may hit the target, may come close, or maybe be on the wrong side of the board altogether, and you will have to wait through another cohort, or several more cohorts, to understand whether your solution solved anything.

Instead, I propose using advanced assessment to find relationships between collected data, to pinpoint where a problem originates, and define solutions and interventions.

Let us look...

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The Purpose of Advanced Assessment Methods

scott's thoughts Jun 14, 2022

Welcome back to my blog series on using advanced assessment methods in the interpretation of the data your program collects. The ARC-PA Commission requires that you collect and present this to them; advanced assessment means deriving two different benefits. 

First, your SSR will be a better representation of what the committee wants to see.

Remember that advanced assessment does not “replace” the minimum requirements for the SSR. 

Nor does the accrediting body require you to go deep into statistical analysis on the parametric level. Nevertheless, it can be highly beneficial to do so. One thing the committee does want is for your SSR report to show context, linkage between the appendix sections, and proof that you are aware of cause and effect of variables. It is more important to show linkage between data analysis, conclusions and actions. There are ways to show linkage between descriptive as well as parametric components.

When you generate data points from...

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Behavioral Interviewing

Uncategorized Jun 07, 2022

Does your interview process help yield the candidates you are looking for?  Many programs place tremendous emphasis on academic preparation and abilities when reviewing candidate files.  Cognitive ability is important, as finding students with the bandwidth to handle the academic rigors of PA school is in everyone’s best interest.  But it is equally important to ensure that in the details of the search for the student we want we don’t lose sight of recruiting the person we want to work with daily for the next 2+ years, the person who will serve as a brand ambassador not only for our program but our profession thereafter.  

As educators, we recognize that for us to completely assess our student’s non-cognitive attributes, tools like OSCE and simulation provide opportunities to place students into real-life scenarios where they can apply their skills.  The interview process should be structured in a similar fashion. 


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Modeling Success for the Individual Struggling Student

scott's thoughts Jun 01, 2022

Despite our best efforts and incorporation of proactive approaches to prevent struggle, a few students will require more time and individualized mentoring in order to be successful in their PA school journey.  Work with these students can be very time intensive, but the fruit of that labor can be incredibly rewarding.  Students who get off to a rocky start in the didactic curriculum can become competent, empathetic clinicians with the right guidance.  It is important for each program to have a specific outlined approach to remediation, with definitive intervention points and outcome measures.  It is also equally important that, while the process is well defined, there remains enough flexibility and a recognition that it should not be a one-size fits all approach.  

While lack of content knowledge is usually the “symptom” resulting in remediation efforts, resisting the urge to make interventions focused solely on relearning of particular...

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Interprofessional Education

scott's thoughts May 17, 2022

Providing high-quality, patient-centered care as members of a healthcare team is inherent to PA practice.  As such, preparing our students to be desired, effective members of these teams should be an important focus of our curricular efforts.  Designing meaningful, intentional interprofessional education (IPE) activities and interactions where PA students can learn from and with those in other disciplines accomplishes so much more than simply checking a box to show compliance with ARC Standards.  For programs at larger institutions or academic medical centers with multiple other health disciplines and abundant resources, this can be achieved much more efficiently than for programs in smaller, less discipline diverse institutions.  While traditional classroom based IPE activities like case study exercises or shared curricular components serve a purpose, thinking outside the box to provide interactive IPE experiences can open many doors for programs regardless of...

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