Possibly not an axiom?
Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:07 AM
While not absolutely compelling it is leading me to at least consider long held beliefs. I assumed that one group would have performed significantly better, but that certainly was not the case. With that said, many factors were certainly uncontrolled and I am not presenting this as valid evidence, but rather an anecdote that goes against formal convention.
I would ask for productive conversation regarding the topic at hand. You can be as specific or as broad as you want. Additionally, I would prefer to see literature on this issue as I have not found anything particularly compelling, one way or the other.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:54 AM
To make an easy analogy, a high school senior and a first grader pass a spelling test of three letter words at the first grade level with a similar score...now, what would the results be if the two were to write a spelling test of 3 - 8 letter words at the 12th grade level?
Edited by Arctickat, 12 November 2012 - 01:54 AM.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:14 AM
Does the exam test their ability to have working knowledge of A&P? Scenarios asking what might possibly be going on with a patient based on signs/symptoms you might get in the field. Might the A&P Standalone students do better in pathophysiology overall because they have a better foundation?
Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:32 AM
Again, I cannot go into detail, but it at least makes me wonder if mandating a year of anatomy and physiology makes a quantitative difference. For example, would nurses and paramedics do better with stand alone A&P versus integrated A&P? I've yet to find smoking gun evidence to support my assertion that mandating a year of A&P makes students learn A&P better than an integrated course.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:45 AM
Better at passing a paramedic exam? The integrated one might teach to the test more, because you're worried (understandably) on making sure you teach them what they need to pass... and thus extra material is left out (again understandably).
Passing the exam does not necessarily translate to having a better grasp of A&P and having a better foundation to learn about other topics like pharmacology or being able to use the information in the field (or remembering new information they might get from a journal article or an explanation by a doctor).
Or hell, it might be that an integrated class allows them to only remember what they need to know and that actually does make them better medics? Doubtful, but can't rule it out.
Also, what grades are the students getting on the A&P classes? An A student with integrated A&P knowledge might do better than a C- student with stand-alone class knowledge.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:58 PM
Though I'm sure you can't show it, seeing the exam would be necessary I think. As Kat explained so well, it would depend on the level of the exam not only from a level of how thorough and expansive the knowledge would need to be for one to pass it, but how abstract the concepts being tested were. Was the exam mostly common memorization, or were students forced to use their biological education to solve physiological problems, and if so, did that go beyond such things as interference(s) in blood/gas barriers as commonly taught to entry level healthcare providers?
I know you love this question, and I actually spent several hours determined to come up with the bell wringing appropriate research to post...but man, I've got nothing. And that's come to seem really weird to me, as it seems like such an important question. But, perhaps there has been collegiate level research that showed that less college is equally valuable...I'm guessing that the sponsoring college would be less than motivated to push for the publication of such a study, yet who else would be motivated to sponsor it?
Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:10 PM
I suspect that this would be the challenge in trying to research this type of thing as well. It will be difficult to come up with a truly valid test and two nearly identical groups to do the different courses. Even with that much working out, the applicability of the results to any setting other than where the study was conducted would probably be limited.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:58 PM
Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:02 AM
As both classes met their objectives I wouldn’t think that there would be much different solely based upon being integrated or not. The only thing that comes to mind would be with the integrated class, is that if students are covering other topics simultaneously, while someone may choose to solely do an independent class thus having more focused time.
At the end of the day, as stated in the first post, I think you are still going to have good performers and poor performers independent on what the layout is like. Like some of the others have pointed out, the hard thing is the ability of to measure both the betterness and the long term effects of both pathways (i.e. differences in retaining and applying knowledge, who makes a better practitioner, etc)
Interesting topic nevertheless
Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:54 AM
My initial thoughts were along the lines of Kat's discussion. I realize that's not very helpful and a bit of a cop out contribution to the discussion. But he articulated what I was thinking pretty well.
What's not addressed, either, is how well the students from the stand alone class fare over the long run in terms of academic preparation and professional growth and development when compared to the integrated students who only learned what's on the test. That, I think, would be an interesting long term study in which to engage.
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