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Effect of Repeating Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses on Academic Performance in Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Clark, Richard C., PT, DSc, SCS; Chiu, Yi-Po, PT, MHS, PhD, CEEAA

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: March 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 49–54
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000084
Research Report

Introduction. Identifying potential candidates with the highest potential for success in a doctoral-level physical therapy (DPT) program continues to challenge admissions boards nationwide. Although multiple studies have looked at admissions factors looking to identify specific relationships that predict academic success, it has been noted that many schools are now limiting the number of prerequisite courses that may be retaken by candidates. The purpose of this study was to identify whether there was a difference in DPT academic performance between students who repeated a prerequisite course (rPR) and those who did not repeat a prerequisite course (nrPR).

Methods. Admissions data were retrospectively collected for 159 students from 5 graduating classes at 2 separate DPT programs between the years 2012–2015. Students were divided into 2 groups (rPR = 71; nrPR = 88) and were analyzed using 2-tailed independent t tests to identify statistically significant differences in DPT academic performance between groups.

Results. Although the nrPR group showed better performance than the rPR group in all 3 DPT grade point averages (GPAs), there was no statistically significant difference found in DPT academic performance between the 2 groups: for 1GPA, t(157) = 1.294, P = .198; for 2GPA, t(157) = 0.876, P = .382; and for GGPA, t(157) = 0.682, P = .492.

Discussion and Conclusion. The results of this study demonstrated no statistically significant difference in DPT academic performance between students repeating prerequisite courses versus those who did not repeat prerequisites. This suggests that the practice of limiting the number of repeated prerequisites may not serve to identify the best candidates.

Richard C. Clark is in the Department of Physical Therapy, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209 ( Please address all correspondence to Richard C. Clark.

Yi-Po Chiu is in the Marshall University, School of Physical Therapy.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received April 19, 2018

Accepted October 30, 2018

Copyright 2019 © Academy of Physical Theraphy Education
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