Term of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

James Green

Committee Member 1

Bryan Griffin

Committee Member 2

Sam Hardy

Abstract

As the profession of occupational therapy continues to become widely recognized as a top career choice, the number of applications to occupational therapy educational programs continues to rise. To date there has been little research regarding the admission process and the admission variables used to select candidates for admission. Healthcare professions such as occupational therapy must reliably select those applicants who can succeed in the academic classroom and in the clinical setting by providing competent compassionate patient care.

This study sought to examine whether select cognitive and non-cognitive admission variables could be used to predict graduate performance on pre-licensure requirements (fieldwork performance scores, first time pass rate an national board examination, and scores on a comprehensive departmental exit exam). Cognitive variables included applicants’ grade point average, math science grade point average, and GRE exam scores (math, verbal, and written). The variables of college attended, college major, college degree, and number of credit hours were also included in this study. Noncognitive variables included previous healthcare experience, the type of pre-admission experience with an occupational therapist and whether the applicant, or a family member, has had therapy services in the past.

The results from this study found several statistically significant admission variables that were predictive of student performance on the pre-licensure requirements. Despite the significance, the variables accounted for little variability in the overall outcome measures. However, an applicant's overall GPA was beneficial in increasing the likelihood of passing the national board examination on the first attempt. GRE math scores increased student performance on all three pre-licensure requirements and remained as the only significant variable in the final regression model. Non-cognitive variables of patient care, related health care experience and community service were also significantly related to pre-licensure performance.

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