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Capstone Title

Assessing the Comprehensive Academic Needs of Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Students: A Focused Review of Polk State College

Submission Date


Document Type

Entry Level Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

First Mentor

Christina Kane, Ed.D., MS, OTR/L

Second Mentor

Annette Bullard, M.Ed., B.A., COTA/L


In 2016-2017, the NBCOT revised and field-tested the certification examinations for occupational therapists (OTRs) and certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs). The revised examinations begin officially being administered and scored in 2018-2019 (NBCOT, 2021). In recent years, the Polk State College (PSC) OTA program’s faculty and staff witnessed its graduating cohorts decline from a 100% passage rate to a 75% passage rate on the revised NBCOT COTA examination (NBCOT, 2021). The purpose of this review was to examine potential causes for the decline in student passage rates, with the goal of completing an academic needs assessment of PSC OTA program students. The overarching goal was to perform an academic needs assessment of the PSC OTA program to recommend specific modifications to aspects of the program, promoting improved passage rates on the NBCOT COTA examination. This culminating project included a review of literature, a review of official data reports from the NBCOT score reporting department, personal communication and collaboration with the PSC OTA program director and collection of information from previously graduated students. The conclusion of this review disclosed the need for program modifications. Recommendations for specific modifications were made based on the academic needs assessment. This culminating project also contributed to partially fulfilling the capstone requirement, based on the 2018 Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) standards, with a focus in the area of education.

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