Case Study: Connect® Medical Assisting - Jame A. Rhodes State College

Digital Product in Use:

McGraw-Hill Connect® Medical Assisting

Course Name:

MAT 1010 Medical Assisting and MAT 2510 Medical Assisting Capstone Experience

Course Type:

Lecture and Lab

Credit Hours:

MAT 1010 - 3 credit hours

MAT 2510 - 4 credit hours

Program in Use:

MAT 1010 - Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Procedures with Anatomy and Physiology by Kathryn Booth, Leesa Whicker, Terri Wyman, and Sandra Moaney-Wright, 5e

MAT 2510 - Medical Assisting Review: Passing the CMA, RMA, and CCMA Exams by Jahangir Moini, M.D., 4e

Instructor Name:

Cheryl Kuck


20 students per section; 2 sections per term

Case Study Term:

2010 and 2011 (without Connect) and 2012-2016 (with Connect)

Cheryl Kuck

CMA Pass Rates and Percentile Ranks Improve with Connect and SmartBook

As a result of Instructor Cheryl Kuck noticing a trend of students not passing the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam, Kuck set out to find a teaching and learning solution which would engage students in the course content so they would be better prepared and achieve higher scores on the exam. Kuck says, “We needed to increase our pass rates and scores on the CMA Exam provided through the AAMA.”

Once Kuck integrated the Booth, Medical Assisting content utilizing Connect into her Medical Assisting course, scores improved. She reports, “Connect and SmartBook is the main reason scores have improved because the assignments help students prepare and feel comfortable with the material prior to taking the CMA Exam.”


Course grade is determined by the following:

MAT 1010

32% – Quizzes
24% – Final Exam
21% – Connect Homework and SmartBook Assignments
8% – Cultural Diversity E-Portfolio
8% – Completing all competencies/Spring Chart Activities
5% – Attendance
2% – Spring Chart Review Assignments

MAT 2510

28% – Connect Homework and SmartBook Assignments
24% – Simulated CMA Exam
24% – Final Evaluation from Externship
12% – E-Portfolio Paper on Diversity
6% – Competency / Certification Review
3% – Discussion Board Participation
3% – Drug Card Presentation

Today every Medical Assisting course at Rhodes uses Connect and approximately 10-20% of the grade comes from Connect assignments. In the capstone MAT 2510, 30% of the total grade is from Connect. Kuck adds, “We place great emphasis on ensuring that students do these assignments and recognize the value in doing so.”

For every chapter covered, students are required to complete a SmartBook assignment with an average time set at 40 minutes and a Connect question bank assignment with 25 questions. Kuck also assigns the clinical procedure video exercises with auto-graded pre-and post-assessment. The video assignments are used to prepare students prior to lab.

Kuck finds the Connect reports very useful in monitoring her students’ progress through the assignments and analyzing what concepts they have mastered through Connect. In addition to the SmartBook Progress Overview and Missed Questions reports, she uses the Item Analysis report to identify which concepts students struggle with the most. Kuck then uses the reports to custom tailor her lectures. Kuck says, “The content I need to cover in lecture has been reduced by approximately 25%, as students have already covered or learned about the concept by doing the Connect assignments.”

Results Achieved

Kuck attributes the 100% pass rates on the CMA Exam from 2013-2016 to Connect being used in every Medical Assisting course in the program. Kuck states, “2012 grads had the use of Connect in most courses, but the 2013-16 grads were using Connect in every course which resulted in our pass rates improving dramatically,” (Figure 1).

CMA Exam scores have continued to climb as more students use Connect throughout their Medical Assisting coursework (Figure 2).

Consequently, the percentile rank continues to climb as well. In 2010, when compared to all other students across the U.S. who took the CMA Exam, Rhodes students were ranked 34th. However, in 2012 and 2013, Rhodes students were ranked 93rd and 89th respectively. For 2014, Kuck’s students were ranked 95th and 2015 96th (Figure 3). Kuck attributes this success to the implementation of Connect: “Our pass rates have steadily improved and definitely our percentile rank has improved since adding Connect and SmartBook to our curriculum.”

Additionally, instructor grading time has decreased by approximately 75% because Connect automatically grades assignments (Figure 4).

Instructor’s implementation goals:

  • Engage students in course content

  • Improve pass rates and scores on CMA exam

Issues for instructor before using Connect:

  • Not enough study tools for students

  • Low pass rates on CMA exam

Benefits to instructor after using Connect:

  • 100% pass rate on CMA exam

  • Decreased grading time

  • More active learning in classroom

Course Description

MAT 1010 introduces the students to the health care system and the role of the medical assistant and scope of practice in different health-care environments, along with an overview of the health care industry, including organization of ambulatory care practice groups, solo practice, offices, hospitals, professional organizations and federal health care programs and health care delivery trends and issues.

MAT 2510 is the capstone experience in medical assisting that allows students to demonstrate their proficiency by integrating technical knowledge with core skills and abilities. Through a practicum, discussion boards, roundtable discussions, psychomotor demonstrations and various other learning modalities, the students will demonstrate their core skills and abilities that have been reinforced throughout the program.

Institution Profile

James A. Rhodes State College, located in Lima, Ohio, offers more than 90 associate degrees, majors, and certificates in two-year programs to approximately 4,100 students. Areas of study include Allied Health, Business and Public Service, Information Technology / Engineering Technology, Nursing, and Technical Studies. James A. Rhodes State College also provides non-credit and credit training through consulting engagements and professional development classes.

“Improving our CMA Exam scores is the one area that I must give credit to Connect. As you can see with the scores, our pass rates have increased dramatically!”


Kuck was able to improve her students’ scores on the CMA Exam by providing more study tools for her students through Connect without increasing the workload for instructors. Students appreciate the opportunity to learn from Connect and SmartBook. Kuck says, “Connect has been received favorably by students and the majority of students state Connect is a great study tool and a great way to review for exams…they like Connect and SmartBook.”

Since choosing Connect, Kuck believes the Connect assignments, including SmartBook, have made a difference in the number of students who pass the CMA Exam and their overall scores. Without Connect, the student pass rate for the CMA Exam was as low as 67%. With Connect, 100% of the students have passed the CMA Exam with student scores as much as 120 points higher than previous students who didn’t have the opportunity to study using Connect. Consequently, the percentile ranking for the program has increased from as low as 34th without Connect to as high as 96th with Connect.