In order to practice physical therapy, physical therapist assistants (PTAs) must graduate from an accredited academic program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA-NPTE). The primary objective of academic programs is to prepare students to successfully complete these two milestones to become competent, entry-level practitioners. The ability of an academic program to achieve this goal begins with the admission of students most likely to complete the academic training and pass the PTA-NPTE. Although previous research has examined the relationships between certain programmatic and PTA student characteristics and the PTA-NPTE, research had yet to explore the relationships between admission processes and criteria and student achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine the existence of a relationship between the admission processes and criteria used by PTA programs and student achievement. An online survey was used to gather data from a convenience sample of 85 PTA program directors across the United States. Data collected included the process and criteria used to admit students into the technical phase of training from 2008 through 2010 and the corresponding student achievement outcomes. Statistically significant differences were identified between selective admission and open enrollment programs for both completion rates and PTA-NPTE pass rates. With regard to completion rates, statistically significant differences were identified between schools that considered completion of prior college credit and experience in the field of physical therapy during the admission process and those programs that did not. No statistically significant differences were revealed in PTA-NPTE pass rates based on the admission criteria examined. The study concluded that PTA programs that use a selective admission process would have higher completion and PTA-NPTE pass rates than those that use an open enrollment process. Within the selective admission process, consideration should be given to completion of prior college credits as well as experience in the field of physical therapy. Despite these findings, further research is needed to clearly identify the specific admission criteria correlated to both student achievement outcomes.
|Commitee:||Bowman, Dixie H., Giraud, Gerald|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical therapy, Education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Admission, Admission criteria, National physical therapy examination, Npte, Physical therapist assistant, Pta|
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