Preadmission predictors of graduation success from a physical therapy education program in the southwestern United States

Gretchen Roman, Matthew Buman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: The field of physical therapy education is seeking an evidence-based approach to inform qualified applicant admission. A considerable amount of research exists; however, results represent an array of outcomes making practical application difficult. It aims to determine what preadmission criteria are predictors of graduation success. METHODS: Data from the 2013-2016 graduating cohorts (n=149) were collected. Predictors included verbal, quantitative and analytical Graduate Record Examination rank percentile), admissions interview, precumulative science grade point average (SGPA), precumulative grade point average (UGPA), and reflective essay. Measures of graduation success were identified as the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and grade point average at the time of graduation (GGPA). Two separate mixed effects models determined associations between preadmission predictors and NPTE, and preadmission predictors and GGPA. RESULTS: Overall, NPTE model fit comparison was significant (df=10; p=0.001) and within-cohort variance decreased 59.5%. The NPTE was associated with GGPA (β=125.21; p=0.001), and verbal Graduate Record Examination (VGRE) rank percentile interview, essay and GGPA (p≤0.001) impacted model fit. Overall, GGPA model fit comparison was not significant (df=8; p=0.56) and within-cohort variance was decreased by 16.4%. The GGPA was associated with interview (β=0.02; p=0.04) and UGPA (β=0.25; p=0.04). VGRE rank percentile, interview, UGPA, and essay (p≤0.02) impacted model fit. CONCLUSION: Above findings suggest that GGPA predicts NPTE, and the interview and UGPA predict GGPA. The essay and VGRE rank percentile warrant attention because of their influence on model fit. It is recommended that admissions ranking matrices designate greater weight to the interview, UGPA, VGRE rank percentile, and essay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of educational evaluation for health professions
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Admissions
  • physical therapy education
  • retrospective studies
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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