### Mathematics in Pharmacy: Improving Student Engagement

```David S. Jones
School of Pharmacy
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High Academic Background (circa 435 tariff
points)
Requirements (AAB or ABB with an A in a
fourth AS subject)
Subjects required at A2
 Chemistry
 At least one from Physics, Mathematics, Biology
 One other A2 subject

Mathematics required at GCSE
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
GCSE
AS
A2
Further

Key Numeracy Skills/Algebra
 Needed throughout the course
 Assessed at entry to level 1
 30% failure rate
 Limited opportunity to address deficiencies

Examples include:
 Rearrangement of equations
 Calculation of doses/concentrations/molarity
 Use of equations

Pharmaceutical Statistics
 Needed throughout the course (but mostly in


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Level 4)
Assessed in the skills component in Level 1
30% failure rate
Limited opportunity to address deficiencies
Examined in levels 2 and 4
LEVELS 1 AND 2
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Probability and
distributions
Central tendency/Variation
Confidence Intervals
Transformations
One sample
parametric/non-parametric
tests
Two sample
parametric/non-parametric
tests
 Paired and unpaired
LEVEL 4
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Multiple hypothesis tests
 ANOVA
 Kruskal-Wallis test
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Post hoc tests
Multiple regression
Logistic regression
Epidemiology
Introduction to Bayesian
statistics

Logarithms
 Base e
 Other bases
 Changing bases
 Use of Log/Semi-log graph paper

Trigonometry
 Basic details ranging through to calculus of
trigonometry

Calculus
 Key component of several scientific sub-
disciplines
 Pharmacokinetics
 Chemical Stability
 Population growth studies
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Students navigate through the course to
avoid mathematical topics
Some students leave QUB with a good
degree but devoid of many skills that are
required in clinical practice (research???)
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Mathematics is not a specified subject at A
level
Subsidiary and GCSE courses
Modular design of the Advanced and

GCSE
 Gradual reduction in content over 20 years
 Reduction in problem solving activities
 Variation in standards across examining boards
 Is the mathematical standard at GCSE level
suitable for science based courses?

Modular

 Subjects studied in isolation
Different mathematical
experiences for each
student
 All students study C1 and
C2
 Third subject is usually M1
or S1 (Decision
mathematics?)
 Reduction in content

Modular
 Subjects studied in isolation
Different mathematical
experiences for each
student
 All students study C3 and
C4 (usually)
 Third subject is usually M2
or S2
 Reduction in content


Key Numeracy Skills/Algebra
 Covered in GCSE (in theory not practice)
 Expanded depth through AS and A2 studies

Logarithms
 Fundamentals
▪ Covered in AS (in theory not practice)
 Base e
▪ Covered in A2
 Other bases and changing bases
▪ Covered in A2

Trigonometry
 Basic definitions provided at GCSE level
 Calculus and use provided at A2 level

Calculus
 Introduction provided at AS level
 Expanded at A2
 More emphasis given to Differentiation
 Applications are not taught or examined
 By level 3 this knowledge has been forgotten

Statistics
 Level 1 basic requirements are provided by S1 and
S2 modules
 Students are lacking in a basic understanding of
the meaning and applications of the information
studied
 In first year assessments, some of the student
who have failed the examination have completed
the above modules
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Problems have been identified
Surveyed mathematical needs
Identification of how students most effectively
learn mathematics
Summer 2011
 Generation of pdf descriptions of key mathematical
topics
 Accompanying podcasts and worked examples
(Camtasia)
 Provision of mathematical examples placed within a
pharmaceutical context
```