Incorporation of an Explicit Critical-Thinking Curriculum to Improve Pharmacy Students' Critical-Thinking Skills.
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Objective. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) is a validated instrument to assess critical-thinking skills. The objective of this study was to determine if HSRT results improved in second-year student pharmacists after exposure to an explicit curriculum designed to develop critical-thinking skills. Methods. In December 2012, the HSRT was administered to students who were in their first year of pharmacy school. Starting in August 2013, students attended a 16-week laboratory curriculum using simulation, formative feedback, and clinical reasoning to teach critical-thinking skills. Following completion of this course, the HSRT was readministered to the same cohort of students. Results. All students enrolled in the course (83) took the HSRT, and following exclusion criteria, 90% of the scores were included in the statistical analysis. Exclusion criteria included students who did not finish more than 60% of the questions or who took less than 15 minutes to complete the test. Significant changes in the HSRT occurred in overall scores and in the subdomains of deduction, evaluation, and inference after students completed the critical-thinking curriculum. Conclusions. Significant improvement in HSRT scores occurred following student immersion in an explicit critical-thinking curriculum. The HSRT was useful in detecting these changes, showing that critical-thinking skills can be learned and then assessed over a relatively short period using a standardized, validated assessment tool like the HSRT.