Solving The A&P Attrition Problem: A New Approach To Anatomy & Physiology

August 13, 2019

There’s no denying that Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) is a challenging course. Even the most dedicated students can find the lecture and labs overtaxing. It’s not surprising that many struggle, and many don’t make it through.

In fact, a new report from the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society found that nationwide, A&P attrition rates are between thirty and forty percent. This is a troubling statistic, because A&P is also foundational to multiple degree paths. Students need to learn A&P to succeed: Simplifying the material, or dialing down the educational rigor, isn’t an option.

We believe that the right course materials can have a substantial effect on student success. To create our new Anatomy & Physiology course, we joined forces with a teacher who has a proven track record in reducing A&P attrition: Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley.

A Radical Redesign for Anatomy & Physiology Courses

Dr. Cox-Kelley has first-hand experience in designing more effective A&P course materials. “When I first came to teach A&P at [a major university], their attrition rate in A&P was over 38%,” she says.

To solve the problem, Dr. Cox-Kelley rebuilt the curriculum from the ground up. “I used my own lectures, developed my own case studies, used my own assessments, and developed my own practice activities,” she says. “After one year of using my materials, my attrition rate was 13%.”

In just one year, Dr. Cox-Kelley more than halved the attrition rate, achieving retention well above national averages. The main difference: New course materials rooted in the latest educational theory and best practice.

What Makes Caduceus Anatomy & Physiology Unique

We partnered with Dr. Cox-Kelley to combine her A&P-specific experience and our years of experience in creating online courses.

Says Dr. Cox-Kelley: “Caduceus and I have spent the last year working diligently to develop an Anatomy and Physiology curriculum that is both cost-effective and rigorous.” The course is designed to save time and effort for teachers and students alike, while maintaining the educational rigor needed for students to pass industry-accredited assessments.

Here are just a few of the features that make Caduceus A&P more conducive to student success:

1. Designed by an Expert in Education

    Dr. Cox-Kelley holds a Doctor of Education degree from Texas A&M. That background makes a difference: “I have very different perspectives since I’m an EdD, not a PhD. I spent years learning just how to teach,” she says.

2. Appeals to Multiple Learning Styles

    We all know every student absorbs information differently. Our course aims to reach as many different learning styles as possible with professionally recorded lectures, digital vocabulary flashcards, medical case studies, and multimedia diagramming and labeling.

3. Reduced Cost for Teachers & Students

    The use of digital materials versus printed materials helps institutions control costs that would otherwise have to be absorbed or passed down to students.

After they complete the course, students will be able to:

  1. Define anatomy and physiology, explain the importance of the relationship between structure and function, and be able to describe directional terms and anatomical positions.
  2. Explain the nature of a human cell.
  3. Describe the general make-up of tissue and be able to recognize the primary tissue types and examples of each type.
  4. Describe the general structure and function of the integumentary system.
  5. Describe the general structure and function of the skeletal system inclusive of joints.
  6. Summarize the major characteristics and functions of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle. Be able to identify the major superficial muscles of the human body.
  7. Describe the general structure and function of the nervous system including special senses.
  8. Communicate results of scientific investigations, analyze data, and formulate conclusions using critical thinking and scientific problem-solving skills.

Invest in Student Success

Every learning institution should be invested in continually seeking to improve curriculum quality and student outcomes. That’s true not just because institutions have a vested interest in seeing students succeed: Accreditation bodies require proof of that ongoing optimization process.

If you’re looking to improve student outcomes for A&P, give the Caduceus Anatomy and Physiology course a trial run for some of your course offerings. Start with the online-only courses, for example. At the end of the semester, measure student success against your established course materials. Our course also includes analytics for processing and analyzing student performance data, so it should be easy to see the improvement.

Nationwide, over a third of students fail to complete their A&P intro. Our Anatomy and Physiology course was designed to reduce attrition, promote student success, and make it easier for teachers to administer and evaluate the course.

Visit our A&P course page to learn more, or contact Caduceus today.

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