Preceptor's Grading Scale Preference for Student Pharmacy Practice Experience and Assessment of the Common Grading Scale among Us Schools of Pharmacy

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The objective of this study was to gain an understanding of preceptors’ grading scale preferences for introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE/APPE). Secondarily, assess if there is a common grading scale for IPPE/APPE rotations among US pharmacy programs.


An online, 22-item survey questionnaire was sent to all preceptors at a fully accredited school of pharmacy. The survey instrument assessed preceptor attitudes toward the effectiveness of the primary grading scales, letter or pass/no pass. Demographic variables were also assessed, including gender, age, practice setting, years as a preceptor, and annual number of students precepted. In addition, a phone survey was conducted with all pharmacy programs in the United States at the time to assess grading scales used for introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE/APPEs).


Three hundred sixty-five preceptors responded to the survey questionnaire. Overall, preceptors had more favorable attitudes toward the letter grade system as opposed to the pass/no pass system, and when asked specifically which they preferred, approximately 70% preferred the letter grading system. The phone survey of different pharmacy programs grading systems revealed most use the letter grading system. Fifty-six of 87 responding schools (64%) reported use of a letter grading system, compared to 26 of 87 (30%) using a pass/no pass system and five using ‘other variations’ (6%).


The majority of preceptors preferred the letter grading system over the pass/no pass system. Familiarity with this system was a contributing factor, as a significant number of preceptors preferred the grading scale they had as a pharmacy student – the letter grade system. This trend mimics current pharmacy school's grading system, as approximately 2/3 currently use a letter grading system to evaluate IPPE/APPEs.

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


This article was published in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2017.10.003.

Copyright © 2017.

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