A comparison of interviewed and non-interviewed student cohorts for the PA program of study and national physician assistant certification exam scores
Humphries, Lisa R.
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Certain student attributes (e.g., GPAs, personal interview scores) have been used by professional college programs to help differentiate candidates during the admissions process in an effort to select candidates that are likely to be successful. Though certain attributes have been evaluated over the years (e.g., GPA), information is lacking regarding the importance of interviewing candidates for admission. Physician assistant programs have routinely interviewed prospective candidates without knowing if the interview makes a difference, specifically on the PA national certifying exam score (NCCPA). Methodology: A retrospective study was done comparing NCCPA aggregate exam scores of WSU PA students. Study subjects included graduates from 1991-1996 who served as the interviewed cohort and graduates from 1997-2002 who served as the non-interviewed cohort. Each study group was subject to descriptive and parametric statistics with the alpha level set at 0.5. An independent sample t-test was used to see if there was a significant difference in NCCPA aggregate exam scores between the cohort groups. Results: The mean of each cohort group was similar. The mean for the interviewed graduates was 496.67 (SD +/- 28.54) and the mean for the non-interviewed graduates was 474.33 (SD +/- 15.28), which were not statistically different. Discussion: In this small study, which only evaluated interviewed and non-interviewed cohort’s aggregate NCCPA exam scores, no difference was found. A large-scale study evaluating the same variables is suggested before generalizations can be made.
A project presented to the Department of Physician Assistant of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant.
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