Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy students' perspectives on the use of an Integrated Standardized Patient Examination

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Gerald M. Mager


Assessment, Standardized patient examinations, Physical therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Integrated Standardized Patient Examination

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this study was to examine students' perspectives and experience with the ISPE. The Integrated Standardized Patient Examination (ISPE) provides students with an opportunity to apply and perform competencies that have been taught in an extended patient encounter. This study investigated the following questions: (1) What do students experience in an ISPE? and (2) How do they construct meaning and learning from an ISPE?

Two data collection approaches, survey instruments and interviews, were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data from a class of 30 students who had just completed their first year in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Using data obtained from a self-efficacy questionnaire administered prior to and following the ISPE a deliberate sample of ten students was selected to participate in interviews. The interview data were analyzed to develop individual portraits of each participant. Descriptive statistics generated from individual students' responses to the pre- and post- ISPE self-efficacy questionnaire were also analyzed as the portraits were developed. Descriptive and narrative data from an anonymous "Student Feedback" survey provided useful background data for the individual portraits and permitted a mechanism to analyze the congruence of the data conveyed in the portraits with that of the class as a whole.

Faculty are challenged to provide students with opportunities to develop reflective practice skills to assess and take ownership for their own professional development needs. There is evidence that participation in the ISPE and related activities supported and, in many instances, altered students' construction of their self-assessments and promoted ownership of their unique learning needs. The experience of receiving feedback from multiple sources coupled with engagement in an intentional self-assessment process appeared to facilitate students' engagement in self-assessment and in identification and ownership of their strengths and areas needing further development. Implications for academic programs that may consider using the ISPE are included.


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