University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Which Applicant Will Succeed?


Mark Archambault


Physician Assistant (PA) school is extremely rigorous and programs are tasked with selecting applicants who are most likely to be successful both within the academic curriculum and within clinical practice. Non-cognitive personality factors are an essential component of the admission’s process. Non-cognitive domains describe many values such as moral reasoning, communication, and interpersonal skills. Because PA programs have a short amount of time to educate students, it would be in the best interest for programs to focus on choosing applicants with these attributes, rather than spend time and effort in teaching them (Brenneman, et al, 2018).

The assessment of non-cognitive attributes is best done through the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). The major challenge involves choosing which non-cognitive attributes would best predict success while maintaining program mission, vision and goals in conjunction with ARC-PA standards.

This article will discuss the importance of non-cognitive attributes within PA education and identify which attributes best correlate with success in PA education and in practice. Also, the article will discuss challenges and lessons learned in creating MMI stations to evaluate non-cognitive attributes.


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