Critical thinking of DPT students at various time points

Purpose/Hypothesis : Physical therapy faculty have historically been interested in the development of critical thinking in DPT students, determining impact of didactic and clinical curriculum components, and determining if critical thinking and/or academic performance predicts performance on the NPTE. Results of previous research continue to be mixed and limited. The Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) is a standardized assessment that purports to measure critical thinking skills in health science students. The purpose of this study was to determine 1) if critical thinking changes over the course of a DPT curriculum, 2) at what time points do greatest changes occur, and 3) if early scores of critical thinking, 1st year GPA, GRE predict performance on the NPTE.Number of Subjects : One class of entry-level DPT students (n = 53).Materials/Methods : The HSRT was administered to DPT students at four time points of a 28 month DPT program-start of the curriculum, start of 2nd year, 3rd year, and end of the curriculum. Scored assessment included individual and total scores. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to measure HSRT ability to measure change over time. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between outcome variable of performance on the 1st time attempt on the NPTE and scores for each testing of the HSRT, 1st year GPA, overall DPT GPA, and components of the GRE.Results : The scores of the HSRT demonstrated significant change over the 28 month period of the DPT curriculum (p > 0.05). Initial HSRT scores were 24.11+3.26 and terminal scores were 25.66+2.98. While all time point scores were significantly different, the greatest change of score occurred between the third and final score. Of the predictors of interest, 1st year GPA (p>.01) and GRE-V (p>.05) were predictors of first time NPTE scores. Entry point HSRT scores were mildly correlated with GRE-V (r=.38, p<.01) and not correlated with 1st year GPA. HSRT scores were not significant predictors of first time NPTE scores.Conclusions : The HSRT is a validated measure of critical thinking not widely investigated in DPT students. In our sample, test score changes were significant, small in magnitude, with the greatest score change occurring between start of 3rd year (after 1st full time internship) and program end (following internship II-IV). This may indicate that clinical internships have a greater effect on critical thinking development than didactic curriculum. Faculty may want to consider elements of clinical internships that can be replicated in didactic curriculum to advance critical thinking. Because changes in critical thinking measured by the HSRT are small, alternative measures to the HSRT may be necessary to detect small changes in critical thinking that occur in the curriculum. In this study, 1st year GPA remained a strong predictor of first time NPTE licensure scores, and GRE-VÑpreviously not seen as a predictorÑalso demonstrated predictive ability. In this study, however, HSRT did not predict first time NPTE scores.Clinical Relevance : Academic interest in facilitating critical thinking.

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  • Control #: 2025639
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Gloria Miller, Steven Z. George, Claudia Senesac, Jane A. Day
  • Keywords: critical thinking skills|prediction of NPTE performance|physical therapy

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