Predictors of Academic Success and Attrition in an Entry-Level DPT Program

Purpose/Hypothesis : DPT program Admissions Committees often invest significant time and energy into identifying students who are most likely to successfully complete the DPT program. Attrition in DPT programs negatively affects both the studentsÕ and the programsÕ ability to educate sufficient practitioners needed to meet societyÕs health care needs. . Many measures are used in the selection process with limited research literature available on their predictive ability. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) has been established as an effective tool for assessing critical-thinking ability in the pharmacy school admissions process. It is unclear, however, whether it provides additional predictive value of future success beyond traditional measures such as the GRE or undergraduate GPA for physical therapy programs The goals of this study are: 1) Determine if the HSRT can predict relative success in a problem-based DPT program, 2) Determine if the HSRT can predict students who fail to progress in the program or require remediation.Number of Subjects : 108Materials/Methods : During the admissions process, cognitive (GPA, GRE, HSRT) and non-cognitive data (Multiple Mini Interviews) were collected on 108 students who matriculated over two years. Correlations, ROC curves, and binary as well as multivariate regression analyses were performed to see which predictors best predicted the outcome variables: (1) remediation on final OSCE (2) attrition (failing) in the program (3) being placed on academic probation, and (4) overall DPT program GPA.Results : The HSRT score correlated significantly with all four dependent variables including negatively with needing remediation (r = -.221, p = .025), attrition (r = -.371, p < .0005), being placed on academic probation (r = -.34, p <. 0005) and positively with DPT program GPA (r = .371, p < .0005). As a predictor, the HSRT had fair to good predictive validity of retention in the program with an ROC curve (AUC = 74%, p =. 004) with a cutoff score of 19.5, and sensitivity = 64.3%, specificity = 68.2%. Finally, a regression model revealed HSRT as the strongest predictor of DPT program GPA (R2 = .138, p <. 0005) and a significant predictor of not requiring remediation (WaldÕs ?2 = 4.473, p =. 034, OR = .829), not failing the program (WaldÕs ?2 = 8.034, p = .005, OR =. 658), or being placed on academic probation (WaldÕs ?2 = 9.459, p =. 002, OR =. 781).Conclusions : The HSRT is predictive of success measured by DPT program GPA and attrition measures based on required remediation for the end of Year 1 practical exam (OSCE), academic probation, and pass/fail status in the program. The HSRT was the most consistent predictor of success and failure and provides significant predictive value beyond the GPA, GRE, and interview measures.Clinical Relevance : Initial data indicates DPT programs can use the HSRT to better inform admission decisions and predict likelihood of success and diminish attrition rates. Specifically the HSRT has potential to reliably identify students at highest risk of failure in the program.

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  • Control #: 2017842
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Jason Denton, Amy Wagner, Chad Jackson
  • Keywords: Academic Success|Health Sciences Reasoning Test|Attrition

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