Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

College of Health Professions


Health Professions

Major Advisor

Barbara Jackson

Second Advisor

Megan Danzl

Third Advisor

Jason Pitt


Introduction: Computer-based assessments are commonly used in the physical therapy education curriculum. Feedback is an essential part of the learning process, but what effective feedback entails in the computer-based assessment environment is unclear. Educators may choose from knowledge of results, knowledge of correct results, and elaborated feedback.

Subjects: Students enrolled in a DPT program; N=49.

Methods: This study was a mixed-methods single-subject quasi-experimental design aimed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between feedback and computer-based assessment scores. Two forms of feedback were assessed during a semester with repeated testing and alternating feedback forms. Students completed an assessment and were given one of two forms of feedback: secure exam review with note sheet (content) or strength and opportunities report (categorical). Students then repeated assessments on the same content that included a mix of repeat and related exam questions. Exam scores and question performance were analyzed with paired t-tests and logistic regression. Students were surveyed on their feedback preferences.

Results: Change scores were significantly higher on exams that received categorical feedback; however, baseline scores differed significantly between feedback types. After correcting for differences in baseline scores by calculating relative improvement from baseline, no differences were found between feedback types (p=0.7011). When the two forms of feedback were compared between the repeat and related exam questions, content feedback was more effective for repeated questions (RR = 1.53, CI95 = 1.12–2.09, p = 0.0031) but not for related questions (RR = 1.01, CI95 = 0.76–1.33, p = 0.9997). Most students (89.75%) preferred content feedback.

Discussion and Conclusion: Both forms of feedback, content and categorical, provided similar degrees of relative improvement on follow-up exams. However, content feedback seems better when a student encounters repeat questions. Students also highly preferred content feedback over categorical feedback.