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Abstract

Purpose: Screening student applicants can be a valuable measure for hybrid-online Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs.Institutions embrace a wide variety of measurements that drive admissions decisions. However, uncertainties exist regarding the most accurate admission predictors of academic outcomes, especially among hybrid-online DPT programs. The purpose of this study was to examine predictive relationships between applicants’ admission variables and program grade point average and National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) performance in a cohort of entry-level hybrid-online DPT students. Methods: A retrospective cohort design and convenience sampling method was used across two entry-level hybrid-online DPT programs in the Southeastern US. Hybrid-online DPT programs utilized ≥51% online instructional delivery. Applicants’ undergraduate admissions records, DPT program academic records, and NPTE scores were collected. Multiple linear regression analyses tested the hypotheses. Cross-tabulations and McNemar’s test were used to identify cut-off scores for variables and odds-ratios of passing the NPTE. Results: N=377 were collected and analyzed from two hybrid-online DPT programs (N=143 [38%] Program A; N=234 [62%] Program B) between Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2020. Applicant undergraduate (uGPA) and trending (tGPA)(final 60 credits) predicted first-time NPTE pass rate (r2 = 0.30, p2 = 0.18, p2 = 0.26, p = 0.02), F(6, 370). Applicant uGPA and tGPA were associated with 3-fold and 2-fold increase odds of passing NPTE on the first attempt, respectively. Conclusions: This study suggests certain applicant variables may be more indicative of success and could be weighted more heavily during the application process. Cumulative and trending undergraduate GPA accurately predict academic performance in hybrid-online DPT education, and NPTE scores. Notably, GRE and undergraduate science GPA were unremarkable. Hybrid-online DPT program GPA strongly predicts outcomes in NPTE scores.

Author Bio(s)

Evan M. Pucillo, PT, DPT, EdD is Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, FL where he teaches research and clinical neuroanatomy.

Rossniel Marinas, PT, DPT, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Miami, FL, where he teaches pathophysiology, pharmacology, and pediatric physical therapy.

Christine Salmon, PT, DPT, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Miami, FL, where she teaches patient care management, physical therapy for the integumentary and lymphatic systems, and geriatric physical therapy.

Vibhor Agrawal, PhD is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Research Director at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Miami, FL.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the following university personnel for their assistance with this investigation: Nga Pham, PhD, Executive Director, Institutional Research and Assessment Tobi Baldwin, PT, PhD, Director of Curriculum Quality Jackie Crossen-Sills, PT, PhD, Associate Dean, College of Rehabilitation Sciences Alicia Day, Admissions Specialist Julie Gonick, Vice President, Enrollment Management Diane Rondinelli, Registrar Author Contributions Conceptualization: CS, EP, RM, VA. Methodology: CS, EP, RM, VA. Project administration: EP, VA. Data curation: EP, VA. Formal analysis: EP, VA. Writing–original draft: EP. Writing–review & editing: CS, EP, RM, VA.

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