Program Evaluation

Subject: Health Care
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1222
Topics: Management, Medicine


The scholarly article describes the development of service-learning project and analysis of student participation in inaugural Medicare Outreach Program using a mixed-methods approach (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The results of the study did not identify any significant in knowledge gained after volunteering in the program and thematic evaluation of the student’s reflections did not identify any meaningful learning experiences gained by the students (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). Service-learning integrates community service and instructional activities and enables students to gain experience in unresolved community issues while improving their critical thinking skills. The research aimed at assessing the differences in knowledge between students who participated in the Medicare Outreach program and those who did not participate. The outreach program is designed to help Medicare beneficiaries with Part D selection (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). A quasi-experimental design was utilized in evaluating the test scores and cross-sectional design was utilized in describing the student’s experiences and attitudes. The students felt that the participation was rewarding, but there was no statistical difference the knowledge gained by the participants (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). 

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Research topic

The research topic is on evaluation of pharmacy student outcomes after participating in a Medicare Outreach Program. The research topic is appropriate for the study since service learning is an integral part of enhancing the student’s learning outcomes and increasing collaboration with the community (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The past studies have identified critical benefits of service-learning such as improve critical thinking skills and awareness of societal problems and thus the research topic is relevant and appropriate for the study. 

Themes/Key concepts of literature

Service-learning is a pedagogical method that improves student learning by linking instructional activities with community service. Service-learning entails reflection and enables students to understand community problems, enhance motivation, appreciate diversity, and gain civic responsibility (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The Medicare Outreach Program assists beneficiaries in selecting Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and must choose a plan that meets their needs. The outreach program was collaboration between Auburn University Outreach Office, the School of Pharmacy, and Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). 


The aim of the research was to evaluate student pharmacist’s knowledge and attitudes after participating in the Medicare Outreach Program (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The objectives were to assess the differences in knowledge gained by the student participants and those who did not participate and describe the themes that emerge from the experience and reflections of the participating students (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). 

Sample and sampling

The school of pharmacy has a student population of approximately 150 students enrolled for the four-year doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. A total of 86 certified student counselors served 147 beneficiaries and a representative sample of second-year student pharmacists was selected to participate in the research study (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The research study fails to clearly explain the sampling methods used in selecting the research respondents since 71 students were evaluated on student knowledge while 79 students who participated in the program were evaluated on experiences and reflection. I believe that a better sampling method such as stratified sampling would be more useful in selecting a representative sample that is no biased. 

Data collection

The data collection methods used includes qualitative and quantitative methods. The research relied on questionnaires in understanding whether the student participants gained more knowledge than non-participants on areas such as Medicare, the online Plan Finder Tool, Advantage Plans, and interpretation of plan search results (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The qualitative data collection involved thematic analysis of the students’ experiences to identify common themes on 27.17 pages of text. The mixed methods approach is appropriate, valid, and relevant for the research since it enables the researcher collect both qualitative and quantitative data that is essential in understanding the impact of the outreach program. The data collection tools are reliable and enhance the data validity. 


The research findings indicate that there is no statistical difference on the knowledge gained by the student participants and students who did not participate in the Medicare outreach program. Accordingly, the findings indicate that six themes dominated student experiences and many reported that it was rewarding and interesting (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). The student participants gained meaningful experiences and positive attitudes towards volunteering. 


The research faced limitations since the travel distance to an event negatively impacted on the students’ willingness to volunteer and students had limited knowledge on low-income subsidy programs. The use of multiple-choice questions is not the best tool for capturing the benefits gained from participating in the program. The program faces funding challenges and students had no money for travel to distant events (Hollingsworth, Teeter, & Westrick, 2015). 


The research topic is appropriate for the study, but the sample selection method is not appropriate for the study. An appropriate sampling method should ensure accuracy of the research findings and increase the validity of the research results. The research utilizes a varying sample size for the student participants and those who did not participate thus making it difficult to compare the responses of the two sets of samples (Holosko, 2006). 

The mixed research methods are appropriate for the study, but the data collection methods are not relevant for the research (Royse, 2006). The simple-multiple choice questions cannot accurately measure the knowledge gained since the students have already been taught about the concepts in class. In this case, I believe validated questionnaire of the student’s attendance to patients will be able to identify the skills and confidence levels (Holosko, 2006).

The research study involves many assumptions such as the willingness of the student to participate and the experiences gained by the pharmacist participants. For instance, 

The research study suffers a limitation due to limited lengthy of time taken for the qualitative research analysis (Holosko, 2006). Ideally, it will take more than one year for the participants to change their attitudes and gain new experiences. Accordingly, the research does not identify how the distant event affects the students’ attitudes towards volunteering since some events that occurred more than 50 miles from the school had few volunteers. 

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The research article is important to social work since it enables the readers understand how students can partner with community institutions in enhancing the welfare of the society Hollingsworth, Teeter & Westrick, 2015). Service-learning will enable students gain more knowledge regarding the social problems and increase their motivation in helping the vulnerable groups in the society. The real experiences will enhance the students’ ability to work with senior citizens in the community (Hollingsworth, Teeter & Westrick, 2015). The article demonstrates how academic institutions can improve the knowledge of students and help in reducing some of the problems faced by the community. 


The article is very relevant for medical students, medical learning institutions, and the community since it offers insights on how pharmacist students can gain more knowledge and increase their understanding of problems affecting the society (Hollingsworth, Teeter & Westrick, 2015). The article is useful for both the current and future social work practice since service-learning improves the student’s willingness to work with patients and their ability to help the senior citizens. The article demonstrates that students will have positive attitudes towards volunteering in the community if they are able to realize the community’s social problems (Hollingsworth, Teeter & Westrick, 2015). 

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  1. Hollingsworth, J.C., Teeter, B.S & Westrick, S.C. (2015). Evaluation of Student Outcomes After Participating in a Medicare Outreach Program, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 19 (2), 139-151. 
  2. Holosko, M.J. (2006). Primer for Critiquing Social Research: A Student Guide. Belmont CA: Brooks/Cole.
  3. Royse, D.D. (2006). Program Evaluation: an introduction. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. 
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