Department of Educational Administration


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Sheldon L. Stick. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 Jeanne L. Cook


The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine if a predictive relationship existed between student reflection and student academic and clinical success as determined by student performance on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI). Secondary questions included whether higher and lower reflection scores would correspond with higher and lower NPTE and CPI scores respectively, and whether students’ reflection scores would increase between the first and fourth clinical internships. Journal entries were submitted by students from a physical therapist education program at a large North Central Region university over the course of two clinical internships. Over 990 student journal entries from 75 students were analyzed for their level of reflection.

Contrary to expectations the null hypotheses were not rejected for the primary research question and the first five sub-questions. No relationship, predictive or otherwise, was found between student levels of reflection (as measured through weekly journal entries) and student scores on the NPTE or on the CPI.

The null hypothesis was also not rejected for sub-question six, which asked if student reflection improved from Clinical Internship I to Clinical Internship IV. There was no change in the reflection of rated journal entries between the two clinical internships.

Unexpectedly, a predictive relationship was found between two CPI criteria from the first clinical internship and student performance on the NPTE. High student performance on Criteria 3 (Professionalism) and Criteria 22 (Professional/Social Responsibility) of the CPI predicted high scores on the NPTE.