DPT students exposed to CPI-based assessment during didactic preparation achieve enhanced entry-level clinical outcomes.


During terminal Internships Clinical Instructors are charged with mentoring DPT students to achieve entry level performance on the CPI indicators by the Internship’s conclusion. While this process can be challenging, entry level performance may be more easily achieved if the student enters the internship with familiarity with the CPI assessment tool, has accurate self-assessment skills, is comfortable receiving and responding to feedback, and has accurately identified his/her specific strengths and areas for improvement. We hypothesized that students who are well prepared in this manner can then focus greater attention on the development of the clinical skills necessary to achieve entry level performance. The purpose of this report is to describe CPI outcomes during the initial terminal internship of students who were assessed via competency-based practical exams utilizing the CPI as a framework throughout the didactic curriculum compared to those who were assessed without a CPI-guided framework.


A series of embedded, comprehensive, competency-based practical exams utilizing the CPI as a framework was developed and executed at 4 points throughout the didactic curriculum. During the exams, all students received feedback from faculty regarding performance on the CPI indicators and were required to self-assess their performance and subsequently establish learning objectives for use in the clinical setting. CPI outcomes during the initial terminal internship are compared among DPT student cohorts who were exposed to this model versus cohorts who were not (ANOVA).


This study demonstrated that student cohorts who were exposed (N=46) to competency-based assessment utilizing the CPI framework including subsequent goal-setting during their didactic education achieved entry-level ratings 20 – 25% higher than cohorts who were not exposed (N=42) to this assessment during their didactic education (p<0.05)

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education

Utilization of the CPI as a framework for competency-based assessment throughout the didactic curriculum improves student clinical performance. This supports an alteration to the generally accepted practice of allowing student progression into the clinical setting based only upon successful completion of all previous didactic coursework.


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Hakim E, Moffat M, Becker E. et al. Application of Educational Theory and Evidence in Support of Integrated Model and Clinical Education. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2014; 28 (supplement 1): 13 – 21

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Sass K, Frank L, Thiele A., Newton A, Bork B, Hartung S, Rosenbaum M. Physical therapy Clinical Educators’ Perspectives on Students Achieving Entry-Level Clinical Performance. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 2011; 25(3), pp 46 – 52

Zendejas B, Brydges R, Wang A, Cook D. Patient outcomes in simulation-based medical education: a systematic review. J Gen Intern Med. 2013; 28: 1078-1089

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2289019
  • Type: Posters
  • Event/Year: ELC2015
  • Authors: Prof. Ann Dietrich, Renee Mazurek
  • Keywords:

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