Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




One of the major objectives of education in the profession of physical therapy is to prepare the student to adequately perform in a clinical setting. A part of the education of each physical therapy student is devoted to full-time clinical experience under the supervision of qualified therapists. These therapists, designated as clinical supervisors or clinical instructors, are faced with the problem of evaluation of each student's performance during the period of clinical education. The problem of providing valid evaluation of clinical performance by a student is one common to many professions. It is not unlike the problem faced by many employers in seeking valid evaluations of performance in the job situation.

The importance of evaluation of student performance during the clinical experience has been a subject of discussion at numerous meetings of physical therapists. The major "purpose of student evaluations are: 1. to determine changes in the student in keeping with program objectives, 2. to determine effectiveness of instruction, and 3. to determine a 'grade' for the student." (1) Each of these purposes should be of equal importance in the mind of the rater. Too often, the emphasis is placed on the third, to the detriment of the first two. Evaluation is one of the basic tasks in the development of a curriculum, and should correlate closely with the objectives of the program, and should be utilized in determining the extent to which the program is successful in attaining its objectives. Therefore, the process by which students are evaluated during their clinical experience is of importance to all concerned with physical therapy education, whether occupied strictly in the didactic or clinical phase.