Background: The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application includes a standardized rating form in addition to the ability to submit letters of recommendation. This exploratory study examines the standardized portion of the CASPA letter of recommendation to determine whether there is a correlation between the ratings given and the relationship and length of time the writer knew the applicant. Method: Four-hundred and thirty recommendation forms were evaluated. Variables included length and nature of the relationship between the letter writer and the overall recommendation given by the writer for the applicant. Results: Almost 95% of writers highly recommended the applicant. There was a weak correlation between length of relationship and overall evaluation rating and recommendation to the program r = 0.12 and r = 0.17, respectively. A moderate correlation was found between the nature of the relationship (r = 0.34) and overall evaluation (r = 0.30). Conclusion: This study might indicate that the nature of the relationship between the writer and applicant and may provide programs with a metric to evaluate the strength of letters of recommendation.

Author Bio(s)

Ty Troxell, BS is a 2018 graduate of Central Michigan University. This article is the result of research performed for his Honors Program Capstone project.

John E. Lopes Jr., DHSc, PA-C is an Associate Professor in the Physician Assistant program at Central Michigan University. He served as Mr Toxell's Honors project advisor.





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