PAEA End of Rotation™ Exams Accurately Identify Students at Risk of Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam Failure

Shalon R. Buchs, Robert Baginski, Jennifer M. Coombs, Diane Duffy, Breann Garbas, Trenton Honda, Amanda Moloney-Johns, Ziemowit Mazur, Melissa Murfin, Michel Statler, Tracey Thurnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) End of Rotation™ exams are used by programs across the country. However, little information exists on the predictive ability of the exams' scale scores and Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) performance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate End of Rotation exam scores and their relationship with poor PANCE performance (PPP). METHODS: In an IRB-approved, multi-center, multi-year study, associations between PAEA End of Rotation exam scale scores and PANCE scores were explored. A taxonomy of nested linear regression models with random intercepts was fit at the program level. Fully adjusted models controlled for year, timing of the exam, student age, and gender. RESULTS: Fully adjusted linear models found that 10-point increases in End of Rotation exam scores were associated with a 16.8-point (95% confidence interval [CI]: 14.1-19.6) to 23.5-point (95% CI: 20.6-26.5) increase in PANCE score for Women's Health and Emergency Medicine, respectively. Associations between exams did not significantly vary (P = .768). Logistic models found End of Rotation exam scores were strongly and consistently associated with lower odds of PPP, with higher exam scores (10-point increase) associated with decrements in odds of PPP, ranging between 37% and 48% across exams. The effect estimate for the Emergency Medicine exam was consistently stronger in all models. CONCLUSIONS: PAEA End of Rotation exam scores were consistently predictive of PPP. While each End of Rotation exam measures a specialty content area, the association with the overall PANCE score varied only by a change in odds of low performance or failure by a small percentage. Low End of Rotation exam scores appear to be consistent predictors of PPP in our multi-center cohort of physician assistant students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalThe journal of physician assistant education : the official journal of the Physician Assistant Education Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription

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