Relationships Between Pre-Clinical Summative Assessment Scores and the Clinical Performance of Physiotherapy Students

Rebecca Terry*, Wayne Hing, Robin Orr, Nikki Milne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


AIM: Education providers need to ensure that students allocated to a clinical placement are optimised for success. The aim of this study was to determine the relationships between physiotherapy students' summative assessment scores in pre-clinical coursework and their future performance in clinical practice. 

METHODS: Selected as potential subjects were 123 students from four consecutive intakes (2010-2013) of an Australian entry-level Doctor of Physiotherapy program. Retrospective cohort summative assessment data for pre-clinical (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations [OSCEs], written examinations, and seminar presentations) and clinical practice (clinical practice scores) subjects in core areas of physiotherapy were retrieved. Clinical practice performance was assessed using the reliable and validated Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice instrument. A descriptive analysis, Pearson's correlations and multiple regressions were performed between mean pre-clinical and clinical performance scores. 

RESULTS: Assessment data from 118 students were analysed. Pre-clinical assessment scores were positively related to clinical performance: OSCE r=0.57, p<0.001; written examination r=0.39, p<0.001; seminar presentations r=0.29, p=0.012. A multiple regression model identified OSCE as an independent contributor to clinical performance scores (adjusted R2=0.33, p<0.001). 

CONCLUSION: OSCE scores were strongly related to clinical performance and explained 32% of physiotherapy students' future clinical performance. Pre-clinical OSCE scores could provide opportunity to implement proactive support and enhancement strategies to increase stakeholder satisfaction and maintain quality placement experiences.

© 2020 Assoc. of Schools Advancing Health Professions, Wash., DC

Reproduced with permission 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e13-e19
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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