Monday, September 8, 2014


A story broadcast recently on National Public Radio (NPR) highlighted the role of a Pre-A&P course in student success.

Listen to the story yourself (link below) and tell me you don't recognize the issues brought up there.  Students failing A&P because they just don't know how to read a science textbook, don't know how to study, and don't have higher-order thinking skills.

You may recall my bringing up some of these issues in a recent blog post Help Your Students Get Off to a Good Start.

The story mentions a course to help students through these difficulties at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.  But I know of a lot of colleges that are taking this approach to improving student success, including my own.

Some of you have already participated in one of my past seminars on how we did it.  It involves a two-phase approach:

  • Pre-A&P Foundations in Science
    • An elective, developmental-level one-credit course.
    • Completely online, self-paced course.
    • Ten modules reviewing basic concepts needed for success in A&P:
      • Science Basics
      • Introductory Chemistry
      • Biological Chemistry
      • Introduction to Cells
      • Cell Transport
      • Getting Energy
      • Making Proteins
      • Introductory Genetics
      • Tissues
      • The Human Body
    • Each module is comprehensive, reviewing all prior modules.
    • Mastery-based: students proceed to the next module only if they pass the current module by 85% or better. 
    • Passing the comprehensive final exam at mastery level earns a "Pass" grade.

  • A&P 1 Supplement
    • An elective, 200-level one-credit course.
    • Runs concurrently with A&P 1 lecture/lab sequence.
    • Addresses basic study skills, as applied to what students are studying in A&P
    • Specifically addresses "trouble spots" typically encountered
    • Provides coaching and support of students in real time

What can we use from this in teaching undergraduate A&P?

Look at what others have done and consider trying your own version of Pre-A&P and/or supplemental A&P study-skills courses! 

If you are interested in our take on this, then listen to my seminar (link below). But I've helped several other colleges get their own version of this strategy off the ground, and it's working. 

Want to know more?

The Toughest Class In Nursing School Is The First One

  • Zoe Chace. Planet Money (NPR). September 02, 2014
  • Radio story of one example of Pre-A&P helping students (and increasing A&P success rates).

Helping Students Succeed: Using Supplemental Courses to Reinforce Concepts and Promote Learning Skills

  • Kevin Patton. The A&P Professor. Accessed 5 September 2014.
  • Narrated video seminar with handout outlining my two-phase approach to helping A&P students succeed.

Pre-A&P Foundations in Science

  • Kevin Patton. Lion Den. Accessed 5 September 2014.
  • Peek at some course documents describing my course.  Includes a brief video "rationale" for such a course (used to recruit students).

A&P 1 Supplement

  • Kevin Patton. Lion Den. Accessed 5 September 2014.
  • Peek at some course documents describing my course.

Survival Guide for Anatomy & Physiology

  • Kevin Patton. Lion Den. Accessed 5 September 2014.
  • In case you haven't seen it yet, this is a short description of my handy student-success handbook.

Thanks Maureen Loomer at Wayne Community College for passing along the NPR story!

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