Purpose: Holistic admissions tools have been considered for use to diversify student admissions. The ability to screen non-cognitive attributes of applicants is an important element of holistic admissions. The objective of this study was to establish instrument reliability, inter-rater reliability, validity, item discrimination, item difficulty, and bias of the Computerized Assessment of Non-Cognitive Attributes of Health Care Professionals (CANA-HP). Methods: A novel methodology was developed to screen non-cognitive attributes of health profession applicants. Using a cross-sectional design, a convenience sample of students invited for interviews into a Mid-western occupational therapy program were recruited for participation. The 37 participants who consented, completed a demographic survey followed by the 12 question CANA-HP. Results: Open-ended questions had adequate internal reliability, discrimination, and difficulty. Multiple choice questions had low reliability and discrimination. No correlation was found between the CANA-HP and standardized cognitive assessments, except non-science GPA which was significantly correlated to the total open-ended (essay) scores and total overall score. Conclusions and Recommendations: The CANA-HP was not biased toward individuals from varied demographic backgrounds. Predictive validity of this tool and non-cognitive measurements of success are still needed. Occupational therapists in educational settings could consider adding open-ended ethical questions to the application process when interviews are not feasible. Classes in the non-sciences and other non-cognitive markers of success may also help identify students with ‘grit’ and critical reasoning which are important to practicing clinicians

Author Bio(s)

Sara F. Maher, PT, PhD, DScPT, is an Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Health Sciences at Wayne State University. Dr. Maher’s scholarship focuses on identifying tools and interventions which best enhance learning and identifying methodologies which target equal opportunities for learners of all genders, ethnicities and socio-economic status.

Shlomo Sawilowsky, PhD, was a Distinguished Faculty Fellow and Professor of Educational Evaluation & Research in the College of Education at Wayne State University (deceased). His areas of expertise included expert testimony, statistics, psychometry, research design, and program evaluation.

Regina Parnell, PhD, OTR/L, is an Assistant Professor and Admissions Coordinator for the Occupational Therapy Program at Wayne State University. Her primary scholarship is focused on Health Symptoms and Single African American Mothers and Health Inequalities: Hurried Women African American.

E. Whitney G. Moore, PhD, CSCS*D, is an Associate Professor in the College of Education, teaching Exercise & Sport Sciences and Educational Evaluation & Research programs at Wayne State University. She researches the implementation of planned missing data designs; assisting researchers with high quality data while decreasing study participant burden.

Peter D. Frade, PhD, is an Emeritus Professor who served as the Associate Dean of Health Sciences and Associate Professor in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University. His primary area of specialization surrounds hyphenated instrumental techniques as applied to clinical and forensic protocols.

Barry S. Markman, PhD, is a Professor of Educational Psychology, and Professor and Program Coordinator for Education Evaluation and Research at Wayne State University (retired). He is a Licensed Psychologist, with research interests in research design and statistical applications, and adolescent and adult ADHD and applications of cognitive behavioral therapy.


This research was funded by a Faculty Research Grant Program through the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University. We publish in memory of Dr. Shlomo Sawilowsky, who passed away on January 11, 2021, a great mentor, teacher and friend.





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