Course difficulty and a remedy to low progression rate among undergraduate medical students at the university of Zambia.

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Daka, Harrison
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The University of Zambia
This study investigated the relationship between level of difficulty of courses and course organisation, pace of the course and time allocated to the course among undergraduate medical students at the University of Zambia’s School of Medicine. An explanatory sequential research design was used for data collection and data were gathered using a survey instrument, focus group discussions, document analysis and interviews with key informants. The quantitative data from the first set were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while the qualitative data from the second set were analysed using the constant comparative method. The analysis showed that for the course organisation, the value of the test statistics was 42.1 with degrees of freedom (df) for the test at 20 and corresponding p-value at p < .005 of .003. The results showed that there was no statistical significance difference of the course organisation on level of difficulty. This meant that the course organisation affected level of difficulty. Course concepts were not taught in depth, resulting in student perceptions that the courses were difficult. Most courses’ workload in the School of Medicine were heavy with little time allocated to them and taught at a faster speed. The findings point to the urgent need to review the course content to align it with the time allocated. In addition, courses should be rearranged in order to fit well in the curriculum. Some of the courses might require repackaging to reduce on half courses and also remove concepts which might lack applicability. Keywords: Course organization, difficulty, delivery, course time allocation
Planning and organizing instruction. , Course organization. , Course management and delivery.