Statement of Educational Philosophy
Roseman University of Health Sciences is committed to the following educational ideals:
An educational system in which all students can realistically attain high levels of achievement. We do not place emphasis on grades, rather on achievement of curricular outcomes.
An educational experience that goes beyond memorization of facts. We believe in the concept of deep learning and mastery of content that leads to understanding and the ability to apply knowledge and make wise decisions.
A system of assessment designed to "detect and correct" problems, thus ensuring achievement of high expectations by all students. We are committed to an assessment system that encourages and gauges progress toward the accomplishment of high academic standards by all students.
An educational system that makes better use of time. We utilize the "block system" of curricular design, which provides students with the opportunity to study one content area intensely and master it without distractions from other subjects.
A curricular design that stresses the importance of early exposure to the profession. We believe in building basic skills early by exposing students to early practice experiences.
An educational experience that values and responds to the needs of students and encourages teamwork and communication. Our curriculum places a premium on active learning in a noncompetitive, collaborative environment.
A curriculum that utilizes and is supported by technology. We believe that technology holds a remarkable potential to stimulate thinking and learning, as well as being an effective tool for acquiring, evaluating, and utilizing new knowledge.
Roseman developed and utilizes another modality of curricular
delivery called the "block" system. In the block system students
take only one class at a time, focus intently on that content area,
and master the content before proceeding to the next block.
Students are engaged in instructional activity with faculty and
peers for six hours a day, Monday-Friday, and we believe this
method of content delivery offers several advantages over a
traditional system, namely:
- The ability
to deliver the didactic (classroom) components of the curriculum in
fewer calendar days, but with more contact hours between students
and faculty. For example, Roseman's PharmD program can be completed
in three years, while more traditional programs use a four-year
professional curriculum. At the same time, Roseman's PharmD program
contains a total of 2,020 didactic contact hours, while more
traditional four-year programs have an average of 25% fewer
(approximately 1,500 average didactic hours based on a comparison
of seven other three- and four-year programs in the same
geographical region, with a range from 1,345 to 1,590). Thus,
although Roseman's programs may be shorter than similar programs,
they should not be considered "accelerated" programs.
- It provides
students with the opportunity to read, hear, talk about, reflect
upon, and study a subject area without distraction from other
subjects. The amount of class time each day offers opportunity for
(and frankly demands) varied class activities, especially active
modes of learning. There is time for discussions, case
presentations, simulations, role-playing, debates, group projects,
and other activities that encourage participation, foster student
interest, and increase motivation.
literature has shown that adults do not learn as much by sitting in
the classroom listening to an instructor, and memorizing
pre-packaged material. Rather, they learn best when they are
actively involved in the learning process. Varying activities also
accommodate varied learning styles and learning rates. Moreover,
each activity serves to reinforce knowledge, concepts, and
application, which in turn leads to better depth of
- Instructional continuity is not sacrificed.
Class time, discussions, and activities are not artificially cut
off at the end of an arbitrary lecture period. Breaks occur
naturally and with the flow of instruction, allowing for better and
timelier reinforcement of important knowledge and
- It allows
for a student-centered learning environment rather than supporting
one that is faculty-centered. Because of time constraints, most
academic institutions rely on lectures as the most efficient means
of delivering curricular content. Unfortunately this does not
emphasize a depth of learning or truly understanding the material.
Indeed, it can be argued that although it may be efficient,
traditional lecturing is one of the least effective means of
student learning. Since lecturing for six hours a day is
difficult (if not impossible), Roseman educators must become
facilitators of learning--designing activities to enhance student
understanding. Naturally the focus moves from an expert instructing
to students actively learning.
- The block system allows creation of a collaborative/cooperative learning environment and development of interpersonal skills. In contrast to traditional paradigms, which are competitive by nature, the block system has students work in groups on projects, solving problems, and applying knowledge during class time. In today's world, most professionals (no matter their profession), work on a daily basis as part of a team. Thus, in order to become competent professionals, students must be able to work collaboratively with others.
Roseman strives to produce graduates that are competent and to provide an educational environment that not only produces and ensures high levels of achievement from all students, but also fosters cooperation and collaboration in the learning process. This is the concept of mastery learning.
In a competency-based educational system, educators must decide what the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors are, decide how to deliver the curriculum to ensure competency in that particular content, and then design assessment tools that are able to determine whether the desired competency level was achieved.
In traditional educational models, determination of an individual student's achievement of curricular outcomes is norm-referenced. Norm-referenced systems are dependent upon how a student's performance on assessment tools compares with others being assessed using the same tool. Often the grade assigned depends upon the level of performance, based on a statistically normalized distribution of all individual performances measured (i.e. grading on a "curve"). Usually, the grade assigned also corresponds with a numeric score representing the number of assessment items a student answered correctly. In many professional programs, a determination that the student has "passed" (i.e., has met the criteria for a particular content area) is set somewhere around a performance level of 70%.
In contrast to norm-referenced assessment, competency-based educational models use criterion-referenced assessment, where competence is determined relative to the criteria for competence, not relative to the performance of other students. Roseman is committed to criterion-referenced assessment, because in the education of professionals, it is critical that all students demonstrate that they are fully competent. Moreover, due to the nature of health care, the competency standards must be set at high levels. For Roseman's academic programs, a student is deemed to have achieved competency when s/he achieves a score of 90% or higher.
Additionally, it does not make sense in competency-based assessment to average a student's scores on several assessments to obtain a "final grade" in a particular block. Such a program can allow students to understand little or nothing about some portions of the curriculum while mastering other portions and still end up with a passing grade. Consequently, at Roseman a student must achieve a score of 90% or better on each assessment tool administered during the curriculum before s/he can move on to the next block.
When the focus becomes competency, grading on a curve, assigning a percentage score, and/or differentiating student achievement into the traditional A-F grading scale is not logical. Roseman believes a student either is competent or s/he is not. Thus, a student either achieves competency (or "passes") in specific content areas, or does not. If a student does not pass, s/he is given additional time to learn the material ("remediate"), demonstrate competency, and pass.
Roseman set 90% as a high, but realistic mark of achievement. It reflects the reality that because no assessment tool will be flawless, an expectation of achieving 100% on every assessment is unrealistic, and students should not be penalized for minor mistakes on an exam. Through the entire assessment process, students receive feedback, correct misconceptions, re-learn concepts, and achieve the highest possible level of understanding as a result. And it is a process--rather than being one point in time, like traditional student examination, student assessment, feedback, and re-assessment is ongoing and virtually continuous at Roseman.
The frequency with which the assessments occur provides a mechanism for students to gauge their learning and "detect" areas of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or "mis-learning", so that they may correct them prior to the assessment.
System for Summative Assessment
Roseman believes that to support learning, student assessment should contain both formative and summative elements. Additionally, assessment and feedback should be frequent, should be tied to one another, and that to maximize effectiveness, feedback should follow as closely in time as possible to assessment. Assessment without feedback does nothing to support student learning and effective feedback comes in a variety of forms from a variety of levels.
When the time limit is reached, all individual papers are collected and students meet in teams to complete the same "exam" they just took individually, as a team (with no access to classroom materials, the University server, or the library prior to the start of the team exam). This exercise accomplishes several goals. First, it provides an immediate feedback mechanism for students at the peer level. Second, when correct answers to the exam are disputed, students have the opportunity to choose a point of view, and defend it to a group. Finally, the team exam teaches students how to function within a group dynamic, since a group is responsible for making a decision and individual group members must abide by that decision (only one team exam is submitted and only one answer per question may be chosen). If the team scores a 95% or higher on the team exam, each team member is rewarded with points added to his/her individual assessment score.
Following the team exam, faculty provides feedback at the "expert" level. Each instructor reviews parts of the assessment s/he wrote and provides explanation of the correct response and why other responses are incorrect. Students can challenge assessment items and defend responses that they feel are correct. Again, this feedback is part of an entire remediation process that supports student learning and competence. Generally participation in the team assessment and the faculty assessment review is sufficient to remedy small mistakes or minor flaws in understanding content.
At the end of this process, students who did not achieve 90% (inclusive of any percentage points added from the team exam), must return on Monday for additional remediation and reassessment. Following the Friday assessment process, students have been given various forms of feedback sufficient to identify particular areas of weakness, and focus their studies over the weekend. Students are then individually reassessed using a different exam.
Should a student not achieve the passing standard of 90% following the remediation assessment, they are given one additional opportunity to remediate the content during the summer. Although they have not met the standard for that particular block's content, it can be determined that they likely have sufficient background to allow successful completion of subsequent blocks. Summer remediation is held during a designated six-week period immediately prior to the start of the next academic year. Each student is assigned to one week of intensive restudying, review, and remediation with faculty for each assessment s/he was unable to demonstrate competency during the regular academic year. The remediation week culminates in a summative assessment that is different from either of the previously administered ones during the regular academic year.
The overarching goal of the university's educational programs, in accordance with its mission, is to prepare competent professionals that are able to meet the expectations of themselves, their peers, and the workplace within their chosen profession.
Specific goals of the curriculum in any program within the University are as follows:
To provide a curriculum that produces graduates who are proficient in all of the professional and educational competencies set forth and who have met all outcome expectations related to those competencies.
To design a curriculum that provides a student-centered, active learning environment that is cooperative rather than competitive in nature and that accommodates various individual learning styles.
To produce graduates who have the ability to solve problems and make wise decisions, who are capable of self-learning, and who are committed to lifelong learning.
To produce graduates who are able to meet the expectations of the workplace.