Evidencing physiotherapy students’ preparedness for practice: A validation study
Introduction: In the health professions, self-assessment and reflective practice are required professional competencies. Student capacity to reflect on and self-assess their preparedness for practice as they transition from an undergraduate student into a graduate health professional requires scaffolding these skills in their academic programs. Drawing on medical education, we evaluated the usefulness of a previously validated tool to measure student perceptions of preparedness in a problem-based undergraduate physiotherapy degree.
Methods: Rasch and factor analyses were applied to a modified version of the Preparedness for Practice Questionnaire (PHPQ) to ascertain the construct validity of the instrument and to assess the effect of teaching method on students’ perceived preparedness for practice.
Results: The PHPQ should be considered as a set of subscales rather than an instrument that measures a single construct. Some subscales were found to be valid and evidenced a significant effect of the teaching pedagogy. However, the “collaboration” subscale could not be validated, and several others were only partially validated and require further refinement.Conclusions: This study has implications for the future use of the PHPQ in similar contexts in terms of student self-assessment of preparedness and suggests that students are really self-assessing a number of capabilities rather than an overall sense of preparedness. Although this reflection is still useful for practice, it lacks face validity at the moment when the current PHPQ is used. The PHPQ requires further refinement in order to be used confidently as a self-assessment tool for students to evaluate their preparedness for practice as physiotherapists.
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