Validity and reliability of a clinical education performance tool for student physical therapists
Stickley, Lois Ann
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This study investigated interrater reliability and content validity of the Physical Therapist Manual for the Assessment of Clinical Skills (PTMACS). Skills from the PT MACS were matched to criteria from fundamental documents of the physical therapy profession by physical therapists and Academic Coordinators of Clinical Education/ Directors of Clinical Education (n = 6). A group of Academic Coordinators of Clinical Education/Directors of Clinical Education (n = 28) was recruited from accredited professional physical therapy education programs in the United States. The ACCEs/ DCEs agreed or strongly agreed that 51 of 54 skills matched the criteria from the fundamental documents at a statistically significant level using a chi-square goodness-of-fit analysis. A third group consisting of physical therapists (n = 54) observed videotaped student behavior and rated skills with the five-point rating scale from the PTMACS. Interrater reliability was fair to poor (Kappa =0.30). When two of the ratings were combined to separate entry-level behavior from below entry-level behavior, the interrater reliability was moderate (Kappa = 0.57). The PT MACS appears to have good content validity and fair interrater reliability. No previous published studies have reported reliability or validity for any evaluation tool used in the clinical education of student physical therapists. It is important to identify the reliability and validity of evaluation tools used by the profession, so that student physical therapists are being evaluated in a consistent matter using criteria that represent skills important to the practice of physical therapy.