Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Achievement; Educational Measurement


Because the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of positions currently available in this program, the admissions committee at the University of North Dakota (UND) is obligated to select students who possess the greatest ability to succeed in the program and later in the profession. The purpose of this retrospective study was twofold: (1) to determine which variables, academic and nonacademic, contribute the most to student academic and clinical success in the University of North Dakota's Physical Therapy (UND-PT) program and (2) to review the current admission process while looking for new predictors of academic and clinical success. The academic files of 145 physical therapy students who were admitted to the University of North Dakota's Physical Therapy program between the years of 1991-1995 with respective graduation dates of 1994-1998 were reviewed. Of the five classes included in this retrospective study, only student files of North Dakota pool applicants were reviewed.

Traditional descriptive and analytical statistical procedures were utilized to describe applicants, educational outcomes, and relationships between variables.

Due to the homogeneous nature of the student performances, each of the variables shown to predict professional academic and clinical success possesses only low predictive value. Of the countless prediction equations performed, only those that produced the strongest equations are reported In the first of these equations, the original grades from Biology 102, Chemistry 106, and Physics 102, accounted for 26.4% (adjusted r2 = .264) of the variance in junior year mean OP A. In the second equation, the prediction variables of Anatomy 204 and Communications 161, accounted for 15.4% (adjusted r2= .154) of the variance in professional fall year 3 OPA. In the third equation, the prediction variables of Communications 161 and the number of times an applicant applied to the UND-PT program, accounted for 10.7% (adjusted r2 = .107) of the variance in PI 552: Clinical Practice II. In the final equation, the prediction variables of original SOP A and interview score, accounted for 24.7% (adjusted r2 = .247) of the variance of the total mean of the following outcome variables: (1) junior academic mean, (2) professional fall year 3 OPA, and (3) PT 552: Clinical Practice II. Of these variables, Communications 161 in conjunction with two other variables was found to be a valid predictor of both academic and clinical success within this professional program. As a result of this finding, support is given to the incorporation of Communications 161 grade into the SOP A to enhance the selection of the most qualified students into this program.

The small degree of variance in predicting outcomes suggests that either other measures are yet to be identified or that the extreme homogeneity in student performances limits statistical analysis. Despite these limitations, a high percentage of students successfully graduate (98.6%) and go on to successfully complete the professional licensure examination (99.3%). Although this study indicates that Communications 161 should be included in the current selection process, outcomes of graduation rate and professional licensure examination success lend considerable support to the continued use of the admission variables currently utilized by the UND-PT program.