Purpose: In 2013, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) launched its End of Rotation™ examinations for student assessment of core clinical rotation content. Although being similar to the National Board of Medical Examiner's subject examinations (“shelf exams”), these examinations have not been characterized for reliability or validated against outcomes such as the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE). This study's objective was to determine whether a composite scale based on all 7 PAEA End of Rotation examinations can be used as an effective measure of comprehensive medical knowledge for physician assistant (PA) students in their clinical year.
Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of deidentified data gathered by 3 PA programs. Scores for all 7 PAEA End of Rotation examinations and for the PANCE were available for all students in the class of 2014 for all programs, with an overall N = 134. SPSS version 21 was used for descriptive and inferential data analysis.
Results: The overall Cronbach alpha for the 7 End of Rotation examination scores was 0.871. Pearson correlation coefficients for the End of Rotation examinations and the PANCE ranged from 0.47 to 0.68 and were statistically significant. Simple regression of a composite 7-item End of Rotation examination average gave an R of 0.810 and an adjusted R2 = 0.654 (P < .0005), explaining 65% of the variance in PANCE scores.
Conclusions: This study provides solid evidence for the reliability of the composite 7-item End of Rotation score and the validity of using this composite score for the purpose of predicting whether the medical knowledge base in clinical PA students is adequate to pass the PANCE.
Theresa Hegmann, MPAS, PA-C, is a clinical professor and the director of Curriculum and Evaluation in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
Mike Roscoe, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, is assistant dean of Interprofessional Education and the chair of Health Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C, is the acting chair/program director of the Physician Assistant Program at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, Illinois.
Correspondence should be addressed to: Theresa Hegmann, MPAS, PA-C, Department of Physician Assistant Studies & Services, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242. Telephone: (319) 335-6733; Email: Theresafirstname.lastname@example.org
The authors declare no conflict of interest.