A comparison of pharmacy students' confidence and test performance

Am J Pharm Educ. 2006 Aug 15;70(4):76. doi: 10.5688/aj700476.


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to estimate student retention of knowledge regarding the management of patients with hypertension and dyslipidemia, measure student clinical confidence, and identify the relationship between clinical confidence and actual performance on a knowledge assessment test.

Methods: This was a sequential cross-sectional study to evaluate knowledge retention and clinical confidence of second-year pharmacy students. To measure student clinical confidence, a 12-item clinical confidence questionnaire was administered. To measure student retention of knowledge, a 21-question knowledge assessment test was administered. At least 1 test question was related to each question asked in the clinical confidence questionnaire.

Results: One hundred eight students completed the study. The percentage of students correctly answering test questions decreased from a baseline of 70.4% +/- 5.8% to 60.9% +/- 5.8% four months later (p = 0.02) in spite of the students rating their clinical confidence from moderate to high in all areas. The proportion of students answering questions correctly was similar across the different levels of confidence.

Conclusion: Overall, retention of knowledge appears to decline over a 4-month period of time. Furthermore, while students perceived moderate to high confidence, student knowledge did not match perceived confidence.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Colorado
  • Confidentiality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Self Concept*
  • Students, Pharmacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires