The Prediction of National Physical Therapy Examination First Time Pass Rates Using Reading Comprehension and Critical Thinking Skills Tests


This quantitative research design study will use a sample of convenience population of PT and PTA students. This study has been approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board. This study will examine the NDRT, HSRT, and cumulative GPA to determine if these variables predict successful matriculation for PT and PTA students and passing the NPTE on the first attempt.


Subjects were selected upon the contingency of admission into PT and PTA programs. PT students (N=53) and PTA students (N=60) participated in this experiment as a part of the entrance and exit requirements for these programs.
The NDRT, HSRT, and cumulative GPA were used in this study. The NDRT is a standardized reading test that measures the reading ability of high school and college students and consists of vocabulary and comprehension sections. The vocabulary portion has 80 multiple choice questions with five possible answer choices. Fifteen minutes are allowed for the completion of this portion of the exam. The comprehension portion consists of five to eight passages from which students must answer three multiple choice questions based on content of those passages. Students are given 20 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.
The HSRT is a critical thinking test written specifically for health care. Questions are set within a health care context. The test is a multiple-choice test that is administered with 45 to 50 minutes. The test contains five subscale critical thinking areas: analysis and interpretation, inference, evaluation and explanation, deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning.
Cumulative GPA consists of all of the coursework and clinical rotation assignments for PT and PTA students.
Cumulative GPA in the PT and PTA programs was utilized. All students completed the NDRT prior to matriculating through the PT and PTA programs. Twenty-seven PT students completed the second portion of the experimental task after all coursework and clinical experience were completed. Twenty-six PT students completed the other portion after completing the second year of the program. Twenty-six PT students completed the other portion after completing the third year of the program.
Twenty-nine PTA students completed HSRT after the completion of coursework and clinical experience. The other 30 PTA students completed both portions of the experimental task prior to matriculation through the program.


The HSRT will be administered in April, May, and June 2017. Results will be presented at the Educational Leadership Conference meeting in October 2017.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

If reading ability, critical thinking skills, and GPA prove to be predictors of students’ success and assessment of these skills can be evaluated early, students who do not possess these abilities can seek early intervention and assistance to improve these skills.



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  • Control #: 2751501
  • Type: Posters
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. LaToya Green
  • Keywords:

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