New research explores experiences and performance of Black-African candidates

We have released a report that examines the performance of Black-African candidates in the Registration Assessment in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The GPhC council was prompted to examine this issue after the results of the registration assessment indicated that Black-Africans performed significantly less well than other groups. 

The GPhC commissioned OPM to conduct qualitative research to provide insights into the factors affecting their performance.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

‘This research highlights the complex interplay of factors that influence the experience and performance of Black-African students during their education and training to become a pharmacist. 

While we can draw no firm conclusions from the report, it does offer important insights which will be of interest to range of bodies within and outside of pharmacy; and will inform our approach to equality and diversity issues in our review of education and training standards.’

The report discusses a number of factors that may influence the experience and performance of Black-African candidates during their education and training, including:

Age of students

  • A significant proportion of Black-African candidates failing the registration assessment at their first attempt were mature students who may have faced family commitments or financial responsibilities that presented challenges to studying and training

Overseas education

  • Those who had undertaken all or part of their secondary education overseas said they felt less confident to ask questions and seek feedback; and also felt hindered in their ability to form supportive peer networks

Explicit bias

  • Some students reported incidents of prejudice and bias during their work-based training year. There was also a perceived lack of Black-African role models within the pharmacy education and training pathway

The report does note, however, that many Black-African trainee pharmacists — including overseas students and mature students — are highly motivated, do not experience the impact of the disadvantaging factors and are very successful in their education and training.

The report also outlined a number of interventions that could be taken by the GPhC, schools of pharmacy, training providers and NHS education authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that may help improve the experience and performance of some Black-African trainees, and offer benefits to all pharmacy students and trainees, including:

More proactive approaches to student integration

Additional training for pre-registration pharmacist trainees and trainers

Greater guidance on the changing nature of the registration assessment and raising awareness about accessing papers

‘The GPhC will hold a seminar in October 2016 to bring together those with a role in pharmacy education and training to discuss its findings, and to consider the actions that may be needed to address the issues raised in the report.’

A copy of the report can be found here.