Can certain admission variables be predictors of academic success in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program?

Purpose/Hypothesis : Currently, there is little evidence to identify admission criteria that most accurately identifies those applicants with the highest likelihood of successfully completing an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. The purpose of this study was to determine the admission variables that best predicted academic success, as defined by timely graduation from a DPT program. Students who did not complete the program in a timely manner for reasons such as taking a leave of absence (LOA) for academic reasons, dismissed from the program or voluntarily chose not to continue in the program were labeled as persons of interest (POIs).Number of Subjects : 111 subjectsMaterials/Methods : The admission variables included demographic information such as age, gender, marital and parental status, number of pre-admission PT observation hours, academic information such as undergraduate degree awarded, length of time from end of undergraduate program and from last course taken to start of DPT program, GRE scores, more than one GRE attempt, cumulative GPA, and core-sciences GPA. Chi-Square and correlation tests were performed to determine which variables were most predictive of the studentÕs ability to successfully navigate the DPT program. The Pearson Chi-Square Test and the FisherÕs Exact Test were used to determine level of significance.Results : Results of analysis of demographic factors revealed none of these variables were of statistical significance. Results of academic factors also revealed no statistical significance with one exception. The only pre-admission variable that held predictive value for determining whether or not a student would have success as defined by the terms of this study was the cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) (p=0.0182). The GPA tipping point was 3.5. An important point to note is all POIÕs had academic difficulty in the first year of the program, where the foundational courses were offeredConclusions : Students who have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better are more likely to successfully negotiate the first year of this DPT program and graduate in a timely manner.Clinical Relevance : The findings of this study offer insight regarding studentsÕ academic performance and ability to succeed throughout an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Further studies are planned to utilize completion of the first year of the program as a measure of success and to test the predictive accuracy of the model with newly admitted students as well as examination of admission predictive variables for professional behavior issues that lead to remediation processes.

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  • Control #: 2021388
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Michael Darnell, Amy Goad, Rebecca C. Leugers, Chalee Engelhard
  • Keywords: admissions|predictor variables|academic success

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