Cognitive, Collegiate, and Demographic Predictors of Success in Graduate Physical Therapy Education

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Title: Cognitive, Collegiate, and Demographic Predictors of Success in Graduate Physical Therapy Education
Author: Andrews, A. Williams
Advisors: Charity Johansson, Committee Member
Conrad Glass, Committee Member
Carol Figuers, Committee Member
Duane Akroyd, Committee Chair
Abstract: Success in healthcare education, as defined by timely completion of the academic program, has consequences for individual students, academic institutions, and society. One purpose of this study was to quantify attrition in the physical therapy program at Elon University. The attrition rate in the physical therapy program at Elon University for students admitted between 1998 and 2002 (n = 198) was 10%, including those whose graduation was either delayed or denied. Most causes of attrition were for academic difficulties. This attrition rate is higher than the attrition rate in other physical therapy programs but it is lower than the attrition rates for most nursing and medical programs. The primary purpose of this research was to identify cognitive, collegiate, and demographic predictors of attrition in physical therapy education for students at Elon University. Predictors were chosen based on Tinto's model of doctoral persistence. Cognitive predictors addressed in this study were undergraduate GPA, Math GRE, and Verbal GRE. The collegiate predictor chosen was undergraduate institution quality as denoted by average SAT score for entering students at the undergraduate institution. Demographic predictors studied included age, race, and gender. The model including all of these predictors was not significant in predicting attrition. However, once those who experienced attrition for personal reasons were deleted from the data set, the model was able to significantly predict attrition (likelihood ratio = 15.876; p = 0.044). Two of the predictor variables, undergraduate GPA (odds ratio = 0.040) and average SAT score for the undergraduate institution (odds ratio = 0.990), were independent, significant predictors of attrition. The admissions committee in the physical therapy program at Elon University should continue to emphasize the cognitive predictors when making admissions decisions. In addition, admissions committee members should begin to consider of the quality of the applicant's alma mater. These results need to be replicated in other physical therapy programs before the results of this study can be generalized more broadly.
Date: 2005-11-03
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3743


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