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Possibly not an axiom?


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#1 chbare

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:07 AM

I recently had an experience that has at least led me to question a concept often touted on this site as essentially being an axiom. Unfortunately, I cannot go into details. Basically, it involved two groups of students taking the same phsiology based class. One group had completed a stand alone year long course in anatomy and physiology with labs while the other only had anatomy and physiology integrated into their training course. The pass rates of both groups were statistically insignificant.

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.
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#2 Arctickat

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:54 AM

Hmmm, what I'm pondering is the comprehensive nature of the Stand Alone Class. The comprehensive class would have included everything contained within the integrated class, but can we say the same in reverse? Perhaps the reason they were statistically insignificant is because both classes knew the content, but you're evaluating the stand alone class based on the requirements of the integrated one, what would happen if your integrated class was evaluated based on the knowledge required to pass the stand alone class?

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.

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#3 AnthonyM83

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:14 AM

Did you consider the difficulty level of the exam? If the exam covered only concepts limited to what was covered in the integrated class, then obviously the integrated class students will do well since they had less material to cover and it was more directed. The stand-alone class students might do similar, because they knew the same material, but more. Also, the stand-alone students might have had more time from when they learned the material to taking the test.

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?
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#4 chbare

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:32 AM

The stand alone course is the typical year of anatomy and physiology that most every nursing and allied health student must complete. It is fairly comprehensive and includes a total of eight credits. Six of which are lecture and two are lab. The course typically occurrs over two semesters where the students do a three credit lecture and one credit lab per semester.

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.
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#5 AnthonyM83

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

What I was trying to get at is, how are you judging the doing "better"?
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.
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