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Phillip Eugene Jones 1 Article
Imperfect physician assistant and physical therapist admissions processes in the United States  
Phillip Eugene Jones, Susan Simpkins, Jennie Alicea Hocking
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2014;11:11.   Published online May 9, 2014
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AbstractAbstract PDF
We compared and contrasted physician assistant and physical therapy profession admissions processes based on the similar number of accredited programs in the United States and the co-existence of many programs in the same school of health professions, because both professions conduct similar centralized application procedures administered by the same organization. Many studies are critical of the fallibility and inadequate scientific rigor of the high-stakes nature of health professions admissions decisions, yet typical admission processes remain very similar. Cognitive variables, most notably undergraduate grade point averages, have been shown to be the best predictors of academic achievement in the health professions. The variability of non-cognitive attributes assessed and the methods used to measure them have come under increasing scrutiny in the literature. The variance in health professions students’ performance in the classroom and on certifying examinations remains unexplained, and cognitive considerations vary considerably between and among programs that describe them. One uncertainty resulting from this review is whether or not desired candidate attributes highly sought after by individual programs are more student-centered or graduate-centered. Based on the findings from the literature, we suggest that student success in the classroom versus the clinic is based on a different set of variables. Given the range of positions and general lack of reliability and validity in studies of non-cognitive admissions attributes, we think that health professions admissions processes remain imperfect works in progress.


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JEEHP : Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions