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J Educ Eval Health Prof > Epub ahead of print
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2019; 16: 5.
Published online February 26, 2019.
[Epub ahead of print]
Preadmission predictors of graduation success from a physical therapy education program in the United States
Gretchen Roman1,2  , Matthew Paul Buman2 
1Physical Therapy, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ, USA
2College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Correspondence  Gretchen Roman ,Email:
Editor:  Sun Huh, Hallym University, Korea
Submitted: January 30, 2019  Accepted after revision: February 25, 2019
The field of physical therapy education is seeking an evidence-based approach for admitting qualified applicants, as previous research has assessed various outcomes, impeding practical application. This study was conducted to identify preadmission criteria predictive of graduation success.
Data from the 2013–2016 graduating cohorts (n=149) were collected. Predictors included verbal Graduate Record Examination rank percentile (VGRE%), quantitative GRE rank percentile, and analytical GRE rank percentile, the admissions interview, precumulative science grade point average (SGPA), precumulative grade point average (UGPA), and a reflective essay. The National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and grade point average at the time of graduation (GGPA) were used as measures of graduation success. Two separate mixed-effects models determined the associations of preadmission predictors with NPTE performance and GGPA.
The NPTE model fit comparison showed significant results (degrees of freedom [df]=10, P=0.001), decreasing within-cohort variance by 59.5%. NPTE performance were associated with GGPA (β=125.21, P=0.001), and VGRE%, the interview, the essay, and GGPA (P≤0.001) impacted the model fit. The GGPA model fit comparison did not show significant results (df=8, P=0.56), decreasing within-cohort variance by 16.4%. The GGPA was associated with the interview (β=0.02, P=0.04) and UGPA (β=0.25, P=0.04), and VGRE%, the interview, UGPA, and the essay (P≤0.02) impacted model fit.
In our findings, GGPA predicted NPTE performance, and the interview and UGPA predicted GGPA. Unlike past evidence, SGPA showed no predictive power. The essay and VGRE% warrant attention because of their influence on model fit. We recommend that admissions ranking matrices place a greater weight on the interview, UGPA, VGRE%, and essay.
Keywords: Education, Physical therapy, School admission criteria, United States

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