Professional Behavior Report Cards: A Method of Integrating Assessment and Development of Affective Skills Throughout a DPT Curriculum.


Background & Purpose: Affective skills are difficult to evaluate yet essential for students to
master prior to full-time clinical internships. The Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) used in
clinical education clearly identifies necessary affective behaviors for professional practice. As
psychomotor and cognitive domains are stressed during the didactic portion of the curriculum,
the affective domain requires similar attention and development to ensure clinical readiness. The
professional behavior report card is a method that allows students and faculty to identify
potential concerns in the affective domain that need to be developed and valued by students prior
to full-time clinical internships.


Description: Professional behavior report cards span the entire didactic curriculum and are used
to assess areas of accountability, communication and professional behavior using a rating scale
of insufficient, pass and high pass. These areas of professional behavior were chosen based on
criteria from the CPI and faculty adapted sample behaviors based on experiences occurring in the
curriculum. Students begin the process by completing a self-assessment using the professional
behavior report cards at the end of each semester. Core academic faculty develop consensus as a
group for rating each student based on the student’s individual interactions in the classroom,
clinic and other departmental events during that semester. Ratings other than pass by either
student or faculty must be qualified with written example behaviors. Students receive the
completed professional behavior report cards at the beginning of the next semester within the
clinical education seminar to compare their self-evaluation with faculty perception. Any area that
is deemed insufficient requires a student to develop an action plan for remediation of behavior
and participate in ongoing meetings with the academic advisor who provides feedback and
mentorship to help develop the necessary affective skills.


Outcomes: Behavior report cards, action plans and subsequent follow-up are of use to students
and faculty to identify potential issues and help develop affective skills over time. Students often
report being surprised and unaware that they were perceived by faculty in a manner different
from their own self-perception following receipt of completed report cards. Faculty are able to
identify potential affective issues prior to full-time clinical internships. Students involved in
remediation often show improvement within one semester but all students are required to achieve
at least a pass by the final professional behavior report card prior to initiating full-time clinical

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education

Importance to Members: Affective skills can be difficult to evaluate and teach within a
curriculum prior to full-time clinical internships. Professional behavior report cards provide a
process to assess and develop these skills throughout the curriculum that are necessary for
clinical readiness.


Hook KM, Pfeiffer C. Impact of a new curriculum on medical students’ interpersonal and interviewing skills. Med Educ. 2007;41(2):154-159.

Jette DU, Nelson L, Palaima M, Wetherbee E. How do we improve quality in clinical education? Examination of structures, processes, and outcomes. J Phys Ther Educ. 2014;28(suppl 1):6-12.

Rindflesch A, Hoversten K, Patterson B, Thomas L, Dunfee H. The student’s description of factors contributing to a meaningful clinical experience in entry-level physical therapist professional education. Work. 2013;44(3):265-274.

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  • Control #: 2527596
  • Type: Platforms
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Deborah Pelletier, Kimberly Nowakowski, Kathleen Pappas, Elizabeth Montemagni, Angela Campbell
  • Keywords:

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