From the founding of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) as an organization in 1989, there has been a realization that many of our students find the study of Human Anatomy and Physiology to be difficult. For some, there is the difficulty in the sheer volume of new words to process and for most, there is also a difficulty in conceptualizing the body as a set of integrated organ systems with interdependent processes necessary to sustain the life of the whole person. Partially to counteract grade inflation pressures on individual campuses, partially to justify requests for baseline prerequisite courses, and partially just for our own reference, there has been a desire to find some more “objective’ way to know how well our students were doing. Out of this impulse, the first “HAPS Comprehensive Exam” was born in first draft in 1992. It has undergone several major revisions through time and migrated from a mail order, self-scored, paper and pencil form to an on-line secure testing environment. The HAPS Testing committee continues to write new questions, refine the scoring algorithm and look to outside consultants to validate the test. The exam has costs associated with the maintenance of the database, administration and data analysis of the results and so is offered on a fee basis to faculty and administrators at accredited institutions of higher education.
As of 2014, what the HAPS exam is NOT:
- The HAPS exams (and the individual items contained in the exam) are not, and have never claimed to be, perfect or without flaws. We are working on a validation protocol now to address that and expect to continually modify the exam in response to feedback.
- The HAPS exam is not an exhaustive examination of everything that your students actually know or even theoretically should know – no exam ever is.
- The HAPS exam is not a perfect substitute for a final exam targeted to your student population and your particular course, because not all courses are designed to align to the HAPS Learning Objectives. If your course does align to the HAPS Learning Objectives, then using it as a final exam is likely helpful.
As of 2014, what the HAPS Exam IS:
- The HAPS exam is a means to obtain comparative data to help benchmark the performance of your students against the performance of other A&P students across North America.
- The HAPS exam is a secure 100 item test correlated to the HAPS Learning Outcomes for a two semester Undergraduate A&P.
- The HAPS exam provides normative data about relative performance of your students in comparison to the other students taking the exam in that term.
- The HAPS exam is currently the only nationally normed instrument for benchmarking your program’s effectiveness.
- The HAPS exam is under development. We are currently in the validation process and plan to continue that going forward! This installment is just a snapshot of where we stand in 2014 – the future of the test is looking very bright!