Scholarly research productivity is not related to higher three-year licensure pass rates for physical therapy academic programs.

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BACKGROUND: In the domain of academia, the scholarship of research may include, but not limited to, peer-reviewed publications, presentations, or grant submissions. Programmatic research productivity is one of many measures of academic program reputation and ranking. Another measure or tool for quantifying learning success among physical therapists education programs in the USA is 100 % three year pass rates of graduates on the standardized National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). In this study, we endeavored to determine if there was an association between research productivity through artifacts and 100 % three year pass rates on the NPTE. METHODS: This observational study involved using pre-approved database exploration representing all accredited programs in the USA who graduated physical therapists during 2009, 2010 and 2011. Descriptive variables captured included raw research productivity artifacts such as peer reviewed publications and books, number of professional presentations, number of scholarly submissions, total grant dollars, and numbers of grants submitted. Descriptive statistics and comparisons (using chi square and t-tests) among program characteristics and research artifacts were calculated. Univariate logistic regression analyses, with appropriate control variables were used to determine associations between research artifacts and 100 % pass rates. RESULTS: Number of scholarly artifacts submitted, faculty with grants, and grant proposals submitted were significantly higher in programs with 100 % three year pass rates. However, after controlling for program characteristics such as grade point average, diversity percentage of cohort, public/private institution, and number of faculty, there were no significant associations between scholarly artifacts and 100 % three year pass rates. CONCLUSIONS: Factors outside of research artifacts are likely better predictors for passing the NPTE.





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Cook, Chad E, Michel D Landry, Jeffrey Kyle Covington, Christine McCallum and Chalee Engelhard (2015). Scholarly research productivity is not related to higher three-year licensure pass rates for physical therapy academic programs. BMC Med Educ, 15. p. 148. 10.1186/s12909-015-0431-1 Retrieved from

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Chad E. Cook

Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Cook is a clinical researcher, physical therapist, and profession advocate with a long-term history of clinical care excellence and service. His passions include refining and improving the patient examination process and validating tools used in day-to-day physical therapist practice. Dr. Cook has authored or co-authored 3 textbooks, has published over 315 peer reviewed manuscripts and lectures internationally on orthopedic examination and treatment.


Jeffrey Kyle Covington

Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Covington is a neurologic physical therapist and 2004 graduate of the Duke DPT Program. He joined the faculty in 2007 and served as the Associate Director of Clinical Education from 2007-2014.  During that time he led  DPT Clinical STEPs® (Student Team Experience in Practice) course series in the first six semesters of the curriculum which places teams of students in clinical practice during their course work.  The creation of this new clinical education curricular format included significant educational program planning, assessment and evaluation.   In 2015, Dr. Covington completed his PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis at North Carolina State University.  Study emphases included adult learning theory, educational program planning and assessment.  In 2015 Dr. Covington was named the Duke DPT Program's Director of Assessment and Evaluation.  In addition, Dr. Covington's experience as a neurologic PT is utilized in the classroom during our Foundational Examination and Neurologic Practice Management Course work. Dr. Covington's research interests in collaborative student learning, and professional development of physical therapists and their embodied use of movement in expert practice.  

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