The HAPS Prerequisite/Attrition Survey- Why HAPS needs your help

A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, John Jackson.
A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, Jon Jackson.

I want to introduce you to the HAPS Prerequisite/Attrition survey.  This survey represents the first systematic, large-scale, multi-site look at the pass/fail rates in our Anatomy and Physiology courses. The survey is currently recruiting respondents among all Anatomy & Physiology instructors in the U.S., and internationally.

The HAP Prerequisite/Attrition survey can be found at:

While not typically required for admission into medical schools, human anatomy and physiology courses nonetheless play important (and rate-limiting) roles as gatekeepers into other high-enrollment health science programs, such as nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and athletic training & rehabilitation sciences.

It is not hard to imagine any number of different factors having an impact on student success — this current HAPS survey, rather than trying to parse out differences in student populations at various institutions, is simply trying to establish some norms for instructor-reported final grades, and look for any impacts that pre-requisite course requirements may have on these grade distributions, which are our measure of student success.

In order for you to answer the survey questions effectively, you will need to have the following information close to hand from each of the courses you’ve taught over the past couple of years (ideally, this will be in your gradebook files):

(1)   From course beginning:

a)  Course number + course name (g., BIOL 2104 — Human A&P II)
b)  Pre-requisite requirements (if any)
c)  Total number of students enrolled

(2)   At course completion* — the total number of students earning

a)  A’s
b)  B’s
c)  C’s
d)  D’s
e)  F’s
f)  W’s (withdrawals)

Note:  It’s expected that for the overwhelming majority of classes, the numbers in (2) will equal the number in (1c).
While final grade distributions can be entered as percentages, we prefer raw numbers, so as to make weighting the means more straightforward.

The HAPS prerequisite/attrition survey is entirely voluntary, and has the approval of the research ethics board of Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which is the faculty home of task force chair Dr. Kerry Hull.  The survey call for information about your institution, as well as some demographic data about yourself and your role(s) at your institution.  These help us paint a more detailed picture of the breadth and depth of teaching done by A&P instructors generally, and HAPSters in particular, as we collate the survey responses.

It is our hope that despite the busy time of year, you’ll dust off some of your old computer gradebook files and take part in this groundbreaking effort.  Our back-of-the-envelope calculations tell us that in order to have the necessary statistical power to draw valid conclusions about correlations, we will need over 300 respondents — more would be even better.

Everyone “knows” that Anatomy and Physiology courses are a major (choose your response):  a) roadblock, b) hurdle, c) challenge, d) accomplishment in our traditional health sciences curricula.  But no one knows exactly how major…until now.  On behalf of the HAPS Prerequisite/Attrition Task Force, I thank you in advance for your participation in this survey; we look forward to sharing our findings with our anatomy and physiology colleagues soon.

Kerry Hull  (Chair), Bishop’s University
Sam Wilson, Bishop’s University
Rachel Hopp, Bellarmine University
Audra Schutte, Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville
Jon Jackson, Institute for Philosophy in Public Life (University of North Dakota)

Again — the link to the survey is here:

2 thoughts on “The HAPS Prerequisite/Attrition Survey- Why HAPS needs your help

    • Each course (example: AP1 Fall 2015) gets its own “page” in the survey — this should make it easier for the respondents, and only slightly more tricky as we go to pull all of the responses together.

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