School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Meredith Park


Physician Assistant, PANCE, Certification, Undergraduate GPA, GRE


Education | Higher Education | Medicine and Health Sciences


As the physician assistant profession continues to grow, the number of physician assistant programs and the number of applicants to these programs are increasing dramatically. Programs should be diligent to choose students who are likely to be successful in the program and on passing the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam. In addition to selection processes that consider preadmission criteria, programs should also have processes in place to identify students at risk of failure to allow time to implement remediation plans. This study employed a correlational research design, attempting to demonstrate a predictive relationship between the predictor variables, undergraduate science GPA, which included anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, Graduate Record Exam scores, and physician assistant program science GPA, which included anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, and the criterion variable, Physician Assistant National Certification Exam scores. Participants for this study included 109 graduates from the physician assistant programs at Mountain View University and Cedar Grove University (pseudonyms were used), both in West Virginia. Data was collected from the participants’ undergraduate transcripts, application to the program, and a report from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant that included exam scores. Descriptive statistics for the criterion and predictor variables were reported. A multiple regression was utilized to analyze the data and showed a predictive relationship between the predictor variable, graduate GPA, and exam scores, but failed to show a predictive relationship with the other predictor variables and exam scores. Further studies could be undertaken to include more participants from different physician assistant schools across the country, include noncognitive factors, or evaluate application-based curriculum as a predictor of exam success.