Clinical Education Courses & Forms

PTA 224 Clinical Education I

  • 4 weeks for a total of 160 hours
  • Fall Semester

PTA 235 Clinical Education II

  • 5 weeks for a total of 200 hours
  • Spring Semester

PTA 240 Clinical Education III

  • 6 weeks for a total of 240 hours*
  • Summer Semester

    *some clinical sites have specific requirments for additional time and special arrangements are made to accommodate additional time which extends the length of the third clinical affiliation

    *these arrangements are made through consultation with the ACCE, the clinical site and the learner, who must first have expressed interest in the site and have agreed to the additional time that the site has requested.

     Each of the courses has an independent set of course objectives which is based upon the amount of the PTA program's didactic curriculum that the learner has completed to that point. These objectives are specifically identified in the course handbook for each of the courses and also appear in the evaluation tool. These objectives represent the items that will be evaluated by the learner's clinical instructor to indicate his or her level of accomplishment.

When to evaluate:

   Evaluations of learners is an ongoing process however; use of the evaluation tools needs to take place minimally at midpoint and at the end of the clinical affiliation. This will provide the learner, clinical instructor and ACCE from Mercer with the opportunity to see how the learner has been progressing. Since the tool will be used more than one time, it is suggested to an X (or M) for the midterm evaluation and a checkmark (or F) for the final evaluation. What is most important is that a discussion takes place with the learner to provide feedback as to how he or she is doing and what can be done to potentially improve. Each of the forms can be accessed through the links at the top of this page.

What are the types of evaluation?

   There are two types of evaluation:  formative and summative.  Formative evaluation is used to provide feedback to learners during the clinical experience.  It is used to further learning or to modify behavior. The critical audience of formative feedback is the learner and it is predictive of summative results.  A very useful formative evaluation tool is the Weekly Summary Form, which is an adjunct to summative evaluation and allows not only for on-going dialogue between the student and the CI, but also for learner self-assessment.

   Summative evaluation is used to summarize performance outcomes. The critical audience of summative feedback is the academic program, in addition to the learner. It is used for grading. The primary summative evaluation tool utilized is the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI), which needs to take place minimally at midpoint and at the end of the clinical affiliation. Clinical Instructors may also utilize the Anecdotal Record and Critial Incident Forms.  The Anecdotal Record can be used to document positive or negative behaviors.  It is useful in supporting ratings/scores, especially for learners with poor affective behaviors and for learners who excel.  This form separates learner action from evaluator interpretation.  The Critical Incident Form can be used to document a series of similar behaviors, usually problem behaviors.  This form requires the evaluator to state the facts and does not include evaluator interpretaions.  It also includes clearly stated consequences for the learner behavior.

Who is responsible for the grading of the Clinical Education Courses at Mercer?

   The grading of clinical education courses within the PTA program curriculum is the sole responsibility of PTA program faculty members. The evaluation tool is invaluable in providing a picture of how the learner has  or has not met the objectives for the course in the clinical setting however; each of the clinical education course also has other course requirements that are part of the grading of the course. Any questions regarding this should be directed to the ACCE, Holly Kaiser, PT, DPT.