Assessment of the Comprehension of Validity Measures in Physical Therapy Tests and Measures by Third Year DPT Students: A Pilot Study

Purpose/Hypothesis : The purpose of the current pilot study was to determine if 3rd year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students were able to correctly define measures of validity and accurately apply these measures to a clinical scenario. The research hypothesis was that 3rd year DPT students would not be able to accurately define measures of clinical validity but would be able to correctly apply these same measures to a practical scenario in patient diagnosis, due to the emphasis of mnemonic based teaching in the structured classroom program.Number of Subjects : 56 third year DPT students were recruited from Touro College's two campuses. 28 from the Bay Shore campus and 28 from the Manhattan campus.Materials/Methods : A 7 question (Q1-7), multiple choice questionnaire was given to 56 students. Q1 asked the students to identify sensitivity and specificity as measures of validity. Q2-Q5 required the students to correctly define sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV), respectively. Q6-7 required the students to apply these 4 validity measures to a clinical scenario. The questionnaires were collected and summated (total %) scores for correct responses were calculated.Results : Central measures of tendency for both campuses combined were as follows: median score for both campuses was 57%, with a range of 14 to 86; the mean ± standard deviation was 55.2% ± 13.5%. Individual questions were analyzed to identify patterns of correct and incorrect responses with respect to type of question (didactic based vs. clinically applied). Didactic questions correctly answered were: 39% (Q1), 13% (Q2), 7% (Q3), 93% (Q4), and 82% (Q5). In contrast, clinically applied questions correctly answered were: 82% (Q6) and 80% (Q7).Conclusions : Third year DPT students at Touro College were able to correctly define PPV (Q4) and NPV (Q5) and accurately apply sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV to a clinical scenario (Q6 & 7). However, they were not able to define sensitivity and specificity (Q2 & Q3). Importantly, these students did not have a clear understanding of the definitions of sensitivity and specificity, yet were able to apply these terms to a clinical scenario. The use of standard mnemonics (e.g. Specificity being equated with, ÒSpPinÓ to suggest a positive test ruling in a diagnosis; whereas Sensitivity being equated with ÒSnNoutÓ for negative tests ruling out a diagnosis) have been previously suggested to assist clinicians in the decision making process. Our pilot study supports the idea of necessitating such teaching aids, given the poor conceptual understanding of these key diagnostic concepts for validity.Clinical Relevance : When choosing clinical tests for patient diagnosis, it is critical that they be based upon known measures of validity as well as their results accurately interpreted for correct application. Appropriately applying the definitions of sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV will assist clinicians in choosing appropriate tests and measures and interpreting the results.

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  • Control #: 1722213
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Joseph G. Hayes, Chris Guglielmino, John Kennedy, Jenna Levchuck, Kayo Oyelami, Sarah Weissman
  • Keywords: Validity|Sensitivity|Specificity

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