The Association Between Accreditation Era, NAPLEX Testing Changes, and First-time NAPLEX Pass Rates

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To estimate the effects of the number of pharmacy programs founded since 2000, programs' accreditation era, and blueprint, testing conditions and passing standard (TC&PS) changes implemented by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) beginning in 2015 on first-time pass rates on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). This was a retrospective, observational cohort study using publicly published data. The number of programs and pass rates were collected from 2008 to 2020. Programs reporting pass rates from 2016 to 2020 were eligible. Accreditation era was defined as programs accredited before or after 2000. Pass rates were categorized into NAPLEX's administered before or after 2015. Independent and paired samples t-tests, Cohen's effect size, and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted. Pass rates were initially found to decline as the number of programs rose. First-time pass rates of programs accredited before 2000 were higher that pass rates of programs accredited after 2000 every year after 2011. Only 40 percent of the programs accredited after 2000 exceeded the national average between 2016-2020. Blueprint changes implemented in 2015 and TC&PS changes implemented in 2016 had greater effect on pass rates than the number of programs or applicants. Programs accredited after 2000 generally had lower first-time NAPLEX pass rates. Even so, blueprint and TC&PS changes instituted by the NABP were more important predictors of the decline of first-time NAPLEX pass rates. Stakeholders should collaborate and embrace best practices for assessing practice-ready competency for licensure.

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American journal of pharmaceutical education

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