Allied Health Students' Perceptions of Class Difficulty: The Case of Undergraduate Human Anatomy and Physiology Classes

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The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice


Purpose: The Human Anatomy and Physiology (HAP) course is required of all allied health majors. Students need to earn a grade of “C” or better, and many students find this class academically challenging. This study investigated allied health students’ perceptions of what makes the undergraduate class difficult. Methods: A 28-question survey targeted 403 students enrolled in three HAP sections taught by the same instructor.

Results: Students returned 279 surveys (68% return rate). Qualitative and quantitative data supported a three factor model in making this class difficult: discipline, student, and teaching related factors. Students consider that discipline factors are more important than student and teaching factors.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Results suggest that instructors can help students by paying more attention to diagrams and graphs, engaging students by using active methods of learning, and identifying students who consider this class “extremely” difficult.